Each year, NIFES monitors fish, farmed in Norway, on behalf of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority to check that farmed fish for human consumption does not contain contaminants or pharmaceutical substances in amounts that could be hazardous to health. The monitoring is also intended to ensure that no illegal pharmaceuticals are used on farmed fish. This control system complies with the applicable EU guidelines.
In 2014, NIFES examined 13,180 farmed fish, 90% of which were salmon. The results are now set to be published in a new report.
‘It is safe to eat Norwegian farmed fish,’ says Rita Hannisdal, scientist at NIFES.
Below the maximum limit
The farmed fish is mostly analysed as pooled samples. Each pooled sample comprises five fish from the same cage, and the result is deemed to be representative of that cage.
The contaminants that NIFES examined the fish for include dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs, heavy metals, pesticides and brominated flame retardants.
‘All the results were below the maximum levels,’ says Hannisdal.
In regard to delousing agents, emamectin residues were found in two of 106 pooled samples analysed, however, both findings were far below the maximum residue limit. The highest value measured was 9.7 ng/g, while the applicable maximum limit is 100 ng/g. In addition, cypermethrin was found in two of the 34 pooled samples analysed, these findings were also below the maximum residue limit. The highest level of cypermethrin measured was 11 ng/g, while the current maximum limit is 50 ng/g.
Antibiotics were not found in any of the samples analysed in 2014. Nor were any residues of pharmaceuticals used to treat intestinal parasites found.
As regards illegal substances, metronidazole residues were found in fish from one facility. Metronidazole is prohibited for use in food-producing animals, including farmed fish, and this result was immediately reported to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. They concluded that the finding was caused by the samples being contaminated before arriving at NIFES.