Nordic information and communication network regarding safety of seafood products. Final Report




Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir, Björn Auðunsson

Supported by:

NSK (Strategy Reserve), NEF (Nordic Officials' Committee for Fisheries Policy), IFL

Nordic information and communication network regarding safety of seafood products. Final Report

This report is the final report in the Nordic information and communication network project regarding the safety of seafood products, which began in 2005 and was formally completed at the end of 2006. The project developed a joint Nordic website ( which gathers in one place relevant links containing information on the chemical content of marine products, both undesirable substances and also nutrients. Iceland (first the Fisheries Research Institute and then Matís ohf) was responsible for developing the website and maintaining it, but each country is responsible for its information and for updating it. The project was formally completed at the end of 2006, when the website had just been moved to a new content management system, Eplica, which simplifies all web management and also makes it easier for visitors to find the content they are looking for. It is hoped that these will enable the web to stay "alive" with little effort and cost.

This report is the final report in a Nordic project called “Nordic information and communication network regarding safety of seafood products and utilization of the resources from the sea”. The report contains a summary of the activities in the projects after the 2nd workshop in the project, which was held in Copenhagen, Denmark on April 21st 2006 until the project formally ended at the end of 2006. During this period the website was transferred into a new web content management system called Eplica product suite, which makes administering much easier than in the earlier version and accessing the website much more user-friendly. This was done in accordance with agreements reached at the workshop in Copenhagen. Although the project has formally ended, it is hoped that the website will continue to live for some time to come, as a common database or co-ordination of information and reporting of chemical substances, ie nutrients and undesirable substances in seafood. Furthermore, it was hoped that the project would be a cornerstone for further networking and innovative transnational research with the participation of scientists in the Nordic countries and EU.

View report


Icelandic meat industry at a crossroads

Icelandic meat production and the meat industry are at a crossroads. Import protection will be reduced and there will be even greater demands for rationalization and lower prices, according to a presentation by Guðjón Þorkelsson, division manager at Matís at the Agricultural Research Council.

Guðjón says in his talk, which deals with the development of food from Icelandic agriculture with an emphasis on meat, that Icelandic production and Icelandic industry will not be able to compete with imports unless they can demonstrate their uniqueness in terms of proximity to the market, production methods, safety, quality, nutritional value. , products and product range.

Icelandic sheep

Guðjón then says: "It is important to convey to both general consumers and the international scientific community the vast amount of information that has already been collected about the uniqueness of products from Icelandic agriculture. It is also necessary to conduct more research, collect more information and present it. All of this then has to be connected to education at secondary school and university level, and especially to students' research studies."

You can access Guðjón's presentation in its entirety here.


Head of Product Development and Consumer Research

Dr. Þorbjörg Jensdóttir has been appointed head of the product development and consumer research department at Matvælarannsóknir Íslands (Matís ohf.). At Matís, Þorbjörg will oversee innovation and food research based on consumer needs, among other things.

Þorbjörg completed a double doctorate at the University of Copenhagen in 2006; on the one hand in health sciences at the university's dental department and on the other hand the so-called industrial degree (Industrial Ph.D.). She completed a master's degree in nutrition at the University of Iceland in 2002 and discussed her dissertation on beverages and tooth enamel removal.


The confectionery company Toms Group A / S, which produces Anton Berg, Gajol, Pingvin and Spunk, among others, supported Þorbjörg's doctoral studies in Denmark. There, she developed a new methodology for research on tooth enamel erosion caused by acidic beverages and solid foods, such as sweets. Toms Group has applied for a patent on Þorbjörg's methodology.

Matís began operations at the end of last year, combining the activities of the Fisheries Research Institute, Matvælarannsókna Keldnaholt (MATRA), the Environment Agency's Laboratory, the biotechnology company Prokaria and Iceprotein.


Pregnancy test for cod?

A large part of Matís' operations is related to aquaculture, and research in this field is of various kinds and is carried out in collaboration with both domestic and foreign parties. Recently, project websites were launched in two European projects in which Matís participates.

On the one hand, it is the Codlight-Tech project, where the goal is to develop a new type of light for use in sea cod farming - but by doing so, the intention is to prevent cod from becoming sexually mature during the rearing period. Puberty of cod in fish, what fishers call "premature" puberescence, causes stagnation in muscle growth as the fish uses all its energy in the development of gonads. Furthermore, it is undesirable for the cod to spawn in sea pens, where genetic material from farmed fish and wild fish can then be mixed. a tool to analyze in a simple way and with great accuracy the status of fish in terms of sexual maturity. That way, it will be easier for farmers to plan fires in the future. The total turnover of the project is about 170 million ISK, and the project lasts for two and a half years, and Dr. Þorleifur Ágústsson at Matís and dr. Herve Migaud from the University of Stirling in Scotland, the initiators of the project. More information can be found on the website of the project, which is done in collaboration with the University Center of Vestfjörður

See the news about "pregnancy test" for cod. You can also draw the attention of the Westfjords online media Bæjarinn besta same case.On the other hand, it is a project in the field of fish farming welfare in Europe. This is a very large project funded by the European Union and with participants from 16 European countries. Two Icelandic researchers are participants in the project, dr. Þorleifur Ágústsson at Matís ohf. and dr. Helgi Thorarensen at Hólar University. Further information can be found on the project's website, which is carried out in collaboration with the University Center of the Westfjords.


Fish proteins can increase the value of fish products

By utilizing fish protein that is processed from cuttings that are produced during fish processing, the value of fish products can be increased by up to ISK 3 billion, says an article in Fiskifréttir about Matís and its company, Iceprotein, in Sauðárkrókur.

By utilizing fish protein that is processed from cuttings that are produced during fish processing, the value of fish products can be increased by up to ISK 3 billion, says an article in Fiskifréttir about Matís and its company, Iceprotein, in Sauðárkrókur.

Sjöfn Sigurgísladóttir, CEO of Matís, also says in a conversation with Fiskifréttir that it is possible to increase the value of fish fillets by 10-17% by adding fish proteins to them and thus increase utilization, quality and at the same time export value.

Fish protein used in health products

Sjöfn says that the protein processing is still at an experimental stage. "We know this is possible and the next step is to define the method and present the product to fish producers. I can imagine that in the future the processing method will be imported into a fish processing company and the protein produced there," says Sjöfn in an interview with Fiskifrettir.

Then Sjöfn says: "In addition to testing ourselves with the production of protein mass, we are also experimenting with drying fish protein and turning it into a powder. Subsequently, it will be checked whether it can be used as an additive in other foods. The powder is white in color and tasteless and is suitable for all kinds of health products and sports food..."


New Matís Report: A new evaluation system for mutton has proven successful

In 1998, a new meat assessment for mutton was introduced in Iceland according to so-called EUROP system, in which carcasses are classified according to fat and body filling is much more accurate than before. During the slaughter season 2003 0g 2004, an assessment was made of the effectiveness of the EUROP system in Iceland, and a report has now been published on Matís with the results of that survey.

The report, called Evaluation of mutton assessment and is by Ásbjörn Jónsson and Óla Þór Hilmarsson, is a final report for the years 2003 and 2004 and it discusses results regarding the utilization of carcasses and individual pieces, as well as measurements of weight and size of all the main pieces of the carcass according to the EUROP assessment categories. In 2004, a MATRA progress report was published under the same name and by the same authors, but the project was funded by the Productivity Fund and the Executive Committee for Agricultural Contracts.

The aim of the project was, among other things, to establish a database that would contain information on the composition, utilization, usefulness and nutritional value of dilka meat according to different assessment categories of the EUROP system, but such information could facilitate price calculations at all stages of dilka meat processing.

The ice report states, among other things, that there has been a great development in the production and processing of lamb in recent years. Cultivation work has aimed to increase muscle and reduce fat in carcasses, and in processing, liposuction is greater than before. With increased meat filling comes more meat and is therefore a better selling product.

With an assessment of the amount of meat, fat and bones from whole carcasses and individual parts of it in each assessment category, it is possible to establish a powerful information and database that facilitates price calculations at all stages of the dilka meat processing process. Could this information be useful when exporting dilka meat, as it is common for foreign buyers of lamb meat to want to know the proportion of meat and fat in individual pieces and in whole carcasses in different assessment categories. 

The authors of the report say that the results will be useful for education, market promotion, product development and not least, farmers will receive better information about their products. They also say that it is possible to use the results of the project as basic information in the meat industry, for example regarding the pricing of carcasses and when selecting carcasses for different processing methods.

Read the report


Ice coating prolongs the shelf life of frozen products

In the fishing industry, ice-coating of frozen fish products has been practiced for decades with the aim of ensuring the quality of the products and extending the shelf life. Ice coating therefore has nothing to do with water pumped into food for other purposes. Ice skin, on the other hand, is a cheap and good solution and in fact the best available to protect loose frozen fish products.

Frozen foods are stored differently in the freezer, the foods both dry and crave even when frozen. In the fishing industry, ice-coating of frozen fish products has been practiced with the aim of ensuring the quality of the products and extending the shelf life. Ice skin is actually a package that adheres tightly to the product and protects it from drying out and cravings. Ice skin is therefore a cheap and good solution and in fact the best available to protect loose frozen fish products.

Frostbite reduces the quality of the product

Most buyers of frozen seafood require ice-frozen products to be ice-coated, certain criteria are set and it is common to use 6-8% ice-skins. However, it may vary from product to product. However, in all cases, this ice sheet must be taken into account when weighing as in the case of packaging, so that the consumer receives the net weight of the product. He should not pay the same price for the ice skin and the fish, it is a product fraud. However, it is a sign of quality that the fish is ice-coated.

However, ice skins do not protect the fish forever. It evaporates at different rates, however, depending on storage conditions. Ice skins, for example, are quickly stored in cold stores, where temperatures fluctuate widely. If the fish is in plastic bags, the water condenses again and forms frost. It is better that ice coating would frost than water out the fish itself because it causes drought which many call frostbite and reduces the quality of the product.

It is important to monitor the temperature

Ice skin that is 6-8% on the fish when it leaves the producer may have become useless after a few weeks in cold storage. In order to extend the storage of food in a home-frozen one, it is important to monitor the temperature carefully and ensure that the temperature does not fluctuate much. and into the freezer. Various information on freezing and processing seafood can be found on Matís ohf's website and on the educational website "To calm down"


Matís with posters at Fræðaþing 2007

The Agricultural Research Council will be held on the 15th -16th. February 2007 in the premises of Icelandic Genetics and in the Conference Halls of Hotel Saga. Several Matís experts have posters at the Research Conference this time.

There are four posters and they are the following in alphabetical order:

Effects of hypertension on growth Listeria and the visual structure of smoked salmon. The authors are Hannes Hafsteinsson, Birna Guðbjörnsdóttir and Ásbjörn Jónsson. Hannes and Ásbjörn are employees of Matís, but Birna previously worked for IFL.

Effect of chilling on lamb tenderloin. The authors are Ásbjörn Jónsson, Óli Þór Hilmarsson and Valur Norðri Gunnlaugsson. They are all Matís employees but previously worked at MATRA-Matvælarannsóknir Keldnaholt. It is worth mentioning that a report was recently published on Matís with the same name.  Read the report

Hypertension in meat processing.  The authors are Hannes Hafsteinsson, Ásbjörn Jónsson, Óli Þór Hilmarsson.

Iodine in agricultural products.  The authors are Ólafur Reykdal, Óli Þór Hilmarsson and Guðjón Atli Auðunsson. Ólafur now works for Matís but was previously with MATRA, but Guðjón is an employee of the Institute of Technology, but previously worked there for a long time at IFL.

More about Fræðaþing 2007


Humarhótel Matís in Höfn attracts attention

It is possible to get up to three times higher prices for live lobsters than lobsters that are sold frozen, according to the episode Krossgötur on Rás 1.

It discusses a so-called lobster hotel in Höfn, which is run by Matís. At the lobster hotel, lobsters are kept alive for a certain period of time from the time they are caught so that they can be sold when demand is higher.

You can listen to a review of the lobster hotel here.


Profitable projects at Matís

Emphasis will be placed on profitable research projects in collaboration with the business community, according to the Market's interview with Sjöfn Sigurgísladóttir, CEO of Matís ohf. It states that the emphases are to some extent different from those that characterized the institutions that flowed into the company.

It is also stated that an exciting year lies ahead for Matís and a number of prestigious projects in the field of food research. These include projects that are estimated to be able to increase the value of fish fillets here by more than ISK 3 billion a year by fully utilizing fish protein, which has so far been sold as animal feed, says the Market.