United Nations: A UN spokesman has said that the deaths of 1 million carp fish in Iraq late last year was due to a disease and not because of pollution as originally feared.

Tests on samples taken by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, showed no significant contamination from heavy metals, hydrocarbons or pesticides, Xinhua news agency quoted Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as saying on Wednesday.

Therefore, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) concluded that farmed carp was safe to eat, he added.

“The deaths were traced to the Koi Herpes Virus, which is a lethal disease known to cause almost 100 per cent mortality rates in carp,” the UNEP said.

The incident, according to reports, hit Iraqis hard as a national dish called “masgoof”, is made of grilled carp.