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Risks of Lowering Heat Treatment in Feed

24 April 2012, at 1:00a.m.

NORWAY - Use of by-products of farmed fish feed for farmed fish that are not of the same species pose a negligible risk to the health, provided that the food is sufficiently cooked, concludes a risk assessment by Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) (commissioned by the Food Safety Authority).

There is discussion between the Food Safety Authority and the industry about lowering the temperature requirement for treating the by-products.

The current rules are that by-products for farmed fish are heated to 85 degrees for 25 minutes. The change would be to lower this to 76 degrees for 20 minutes.

The risk assessment found that when treated at 85 degrees for 25 minutes, the chances that bacteria, viruses and parasites are still alive is negligible.

After heat treatment at 76 degrees for 20 minutes, the risk that IPN virus has survived is very low.

However, the assessment warns that the possibility of suboptimal heat treatment could lead to the development of more heat-resistant virus populations over time, especially if the virus is recycled back through fish farms.

The assessment said that testing for IPN could be a suitable method for detecting heat inactivation. However the report recommended that the authority use a bacterial indication as well.

It concluded that there are still gaps in knowledge for heat inactivation of fish pathogens, including a lack of date for piscine reovirus (PRV).

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