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Low Levels of Undesirable Substances in Norwegian Farmed Fish

17 September 2012, at 1:00a.m.

NORWAY - Norwegian farmed fish contain only low levels of undesirable substances and no traces of illegal medical residues were found, states a new report on the situation in 2011.

NIFES has investigated the content of legal and illegal medical residues, heavy metals and other environmental contaminants in farmed fish on behalf of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The results showed low concentrations of all analysed legal medical residues and environmental contaminants.

Forty per cent of the samples were analysed for medical residues and substances such as steroids which is illegal to use in food production, but none were found. The remaining sixty per cent were analysed for legal medicines and for environmental contaminants such as heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins and pesticides. All the measurements showed results below permitted limits.

There were low levels of all the substances that we tested for, which is similar to previous findings,said NIFES research scientist Ole Jakob Nstbakken.

The report is based on analyses of samples from a total of 11,765 farmed fish. Fillets from 10,105 fish and 1660 livers were analyzed. The samples were obtained from slaughterhouses and fish farms all over the country.

Concentrations of most of the legal medical residues were below the detection limit, i.e. the lower limit of what can be detected.

The monitoring programme has been in operation since 1998, as required by European Union legislation (Directive 96-23), which requires the authorities to map concentrations of undesirable substances in foods and raw materials of animal origin. The Food Safety Authority has responsibility for sampling and implementation of the programme in Norway, while NIFES is responsible for performing the analyses in the part of the programme that covers farmed fish.


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