The report of a study performed by NIFES in 2011 shows that whale-meat contains only low concentrations of environmental toxins.
On behalf of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, NIFES analysed 84 samples of minke whale flesh, all of which were taken between May 1 and August 16 , 2011. Most of the samples were taken in the Barents Sea, and were analysed for both organic and inorganic environmental toxins, including mercury, cadmium, lead, polybrominated flame retardants (PBDEs) and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). Dioxins were not included in the range of tests.
The samples that were analysed for heavy metals lay within the upper permitted limits set by Norway and the European Union for fish muscle in most species. To date, no such limits have been set for environmental toxins in marine mammals. Nor do upper limits yet exist for PBDE or PFAS, but the results showed low values of all the substances studied.
The red dots shows where the samples were taken.
“The report provides a thorough survey and update of the mercury content of the flesh of minke whale taken in Norwegian waters. It also offers new data about the other environmental toxins,” says NIFES Senior scientist Kåre Julshamn.
The survey forms the second part of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s monitoring programme: “Undesirable substances in wild fish, with emphasis on coastal waters.” The first part was based on studies of crabs all along the coast of Norway.
Contact: Kåre Julshamn
Phone: +47 994 87 701
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