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Norwegian Farmed Fish Pass Safety Tests

Food safety & handling Politics +2 more

NORWAY - In 2014, 13,180 farmed fish were investigated for illegal and unwanted substances by Norway's National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), which found that none of the samples were above the target threshold.

Every year NIFES monitors Norwegian farmed fish on behalf of the FSA, to check that farmed fish for human consumption does not contain hazardous substances or drugs in harmful amounts.

Monitoring also checks that illegal drugs are not used for aquaculture. This control system is in accordance with EU guidelines. The results of the monitoring are now being published in a new report.

Of the fish samples examined last year by NIFES, 90 per cent was farmed.

"Norwegian farmed fish is safe to eat," said Rita Hannisdal, a researcher at NIFES.

Farmed fish are mainly analysed as pooled samples. Each pooled sample consists of five fish from the same cage, and the result is considered to be representative of the cage.

The hazardous substances investigated by NIFES included dioxin and dioxin-like PCBs, heavy metals, pesticides and brominated flame retardants.

"All results were below threshold," Ms Hannisdal said.

Looking at treatment lotions, residues were found of emamectin in two of the 106 analysed pooled samples, but both were well below the threshold. The highest value measured was 9.7 ng/g, whereas the current limit is 100 ng/g.

In addition, researchers found cypermethrin in two of 34 analysed pooled samples, but even these were under limit. The highest measured value of the drug was 11 ng/g, while the current limit is 50 ng/g.

In 2014, no antibiotics were found in any of the samples analysed. Nor did researchers find residues of drugs used against intestinal parasites.

When it comes to illegal drugs, residues of metronidazole were identified in fish from one plant. Metronidazole is forbidden to use for food producing animals, including farmed fish, and the result was immediately reported to the FSA. They have concluded that the demonstration was due to a contamination of the samples before they arrived at NIFES.