ShapeShapeauthorShapecrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Monitoring Heavy Metals In Seafood

by the Fish Site Editor
25 November 2010, at 12:00am

EU - A new study which benchmarks the abilities of laboratories around the world to measure heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, methylmercury and inorganic arsenic) in seafood has seen positive results.

The article was publised by the Joint Research Centre. The outcome of the exercise was generally positive, with 80 to 96 per cent of laboratories obtaining satisfactory scores, depending on the heavy metal considered. This result corroborates seafood consumers' protection in the EU, where the levels of lead, cadmium and total mercury are regulated by law.

Fifty-seven laboratories from 29 countries volunteered to put their measuring competence to the test. Each laboratory received a sample without knowing the levels of heavy metals present, and was asked to measure and report the values back to the JRC.

The good results should enhance consumers' confidence, as maximum levels of lead, cadmium and total mercury in seafood are regulated by EU law and it has been proven that most participants are able to correctly measure them. In addition, this comparison has highlighted other issues, such as the apparent dependency of the measurements of inorganic arsenic on the type of food tested.

Excessive intake of heavy metals may lead to a decline in mental, cognitive and physical health. A particular concern is potential developmental defects in children exposed in utero. From a toxicological point of view, the chemical form in which the metal is ingested plays a significant role. For example, methylmercury is much more toxic than inorganic mercury compounds, whilst inorganic arsenic is more toxic than the organic species of arsenic.

the Fish Site Editor