Farmed fish safe to eat claims EU panel

July 6, 2005 in Food Safety, Nutrition Topics in the News

Farmed fish safe to eat claims EU panel

In a statement released this week by a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) panel, the group claims there is no difference in health risks between eating farmed and wild salmon. The EFSA panel focused on methylmercury and dioxin-like compounds in salmon, herring, anchovies, tuna, mackerel, pilchards, rainbow trout and carp when making their recommendations.

Dioxin-like compounds are structurally similar to dioxins, which have been linked to cancer and to neurological and developmental effects in humans.

The statement released by the EFSA panel contradicts an international study released last year that claimed scientists found high levels of dioxin-like chemicals in farmed salmon.

However, like the study released last year, the EFSA panel claims more statistical testing needs to be done before a full comparison can be made of the chemical levels in wild and farmed fish.

Variables that determine the chemical levels in fish include species, season, diet, location, life-stage and age. Contaminants in fish are derived predominately from their diet and accumulate in the higher species in the food chain.

No quantitative risk estimates have been done for dioxin-like compounds in either wild or farmed fish. Public health experts remain concerned because the concentrations of these substances have been steadily increasing in people over the years.

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