The analyses of Norwegian farmed fish in 2015 showed that the applicable maximum limits were not exceeded. However, traces of delousing agents were detected at a higher percentage of the samples, compared to previously years. Food safety has been assessed as good.

Norway has implemented a control system in accordance with an EU directive as part of its efforts to check that Norwegian farmed fish is safe for consumption. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is responsible for the Norwegian control system and takes samples from a large number of farmed fish every year. NIFES examines these samples for illegal and undesirable substances and reports the results to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The samples that are analysed for illegal substances are collected at all stages of the fish’s life cycle, whereas samples analysed for residues of legal pharmaceuticals are collected from harvesting facilities and are representative of fish that are ready for human consumption. Each sample consists of five fish from the same cage, and the result is deemed representative of that cage.

Pharmaceuticals

A total of 944 composite samples were analysed for legal pharmaceuticals. Only substances used to treat salmon lice was found in measurable quantities in the samples. All of the samples were within the applicable maximum limits and there is therefore no risk to food safety.

Forty-four samples were analysed for cypermethrin, 133 for emamectin and 128 for diflubenzuron. All of these substances are used to treat salmon lice. Cypermethrin was found in seven composite samples. The highest measured value was 21 ng/g, while the maximum limit is 50 ng/g. Emamectin was found in eight composite samples. The highest measured value was 32 ng/g, while the maximum limit is 100 ng/g. Diflubenzuron residues were found in six of the analysed composite samples. The highest measured value was 14 ng/g, while the applicable maximum limit is 1000 ng/g.
Antibiotics or medicinal drugs for intestinal parasites were not found in any of the samples.

Illegal substances

A total of 883 composite samples were analysed for illegal substances. Crystal violet was found in six composite samples that all came from the same facility. One sample was analysed as a routine analysis, while the others were analysed due to suspicion. When using crystal violet to treat salmon, the substance is quickly converted into leuco crystal violet in the fish, but this was only found in very low levels in the samples analysed. Crystal violet was not found in the samples collected at the harvesting facility three months later. The findings of crystal violet were reported to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, which concluded that the samples were contaminated during the sampling process at the fish farming facility. Crystal violet is a substance that inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi.

No other illegal substances were found.

Food safety assessed as good

Based on the preliminary results from 2015, food safety has been assessed as good for farmed fish, in line with the results from previous years.

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