The shellfish known as black gold in New Zealand is not known
to be black elsewhere.
Seafood New Zealand has applied to use sodium hydrosulphate
to bleach exported paua to make it appear similar to
light-fleshed or "blonde" abalone found elsewhere in the
Seafood NZ spokesman Don Carson said the practice had been
around for many years, and the Food Standards permission
would make the practice official.
"Overseas consumers are used to eating white abalone," he
"Obviously some of our seafood is further processed than
Chief executive of The Paua Industry Council Jeremy Cooper
said the council orchestrates how the paua is collected but
anything past the collecting of the shellfish is not their
He said recreational paua collectors would sometimes take the
black colour out of the flesh with lemon juice and by
brushing the flesh, but the commercial entities needed a
However, he said he wished people would be happy to consume
paua in it's natural state.
The Food Standards believes the additive is technologically
justified and would be safe to eat.
The Food Standards authority is asking for government
agencies, public health professionals, industry members and
the community to have their say.
It'll accept submissions on the paua colour change until June
- Sophie Ryan of APNZ