Reports

Results of continuous monitoring of undesirable substances in seafood from the resource 2021 // Undesirable substances in seafood - results from the Icelandic marine monitoring activities in the year 2021

Published:

11/01/2022

Authors:

Jensen, Sophie; Borojevic, Branka; Igorsdóttir, Julija; Desnica, Natasa

Supported by:

Atvinnuvega- og nýsköpunarráðneytið / Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture

Contact

Sophie Jensen

Project Manager

sophie.jensen@matis.is

This report summarizes the results of monitoring of undesirable substances in edible seafood in 2021. The monitoring began in 2003 with the help of the then Ministry of Fisheries, the current Ministry of Industry and Innovation, and Matís ohf. on the collection of data and the publication of reports for this systematic monitoring during the period 2003-2012. Due to a lack of funds for this monitoring project, this important data collection was suspended as well as the publication of results in the period 2013-2016. The project started again in March 2017, but due to a lack of funds, it now only covers the monitoring of undesirable substances in edible parts of seafood from the resource intended for human consumption, and not fishmeal and fish oil for feed. For the same reason, chemical analyzes of PAHs, PBDEs and PFCs are no longer performed.

The aim of the project is to demonstrate the status of Icelandic seafood in terms of safety and health, and to use the data in the risk assessment of food to ensure the interests of consumers and public health. The project builds a knowledge base on the amount of undesirable substances in economically important species and marine products. It is defined as a long-term project where expansion and revision are constantly needed.

In general, the results obtained in 2021 were in line with previous results from 2003 to 2012 and 2017 to 2020. The results showed that Icelandic seafood contains an insignificant amount of persistent organic pollutants such as dioxins, PCBs and pesticides.

In this report, the maximum levels of the European Union (EU) for dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs (DL-PCBs) and non-dioxin-like PCBs (NDL-PCBs) in food were according to Regulation no. 1259/2011 used to assess how Icelandic seafood meets EU requirements. The results for 2021 show that all samples of seafood for human consumption were well below EU maximum levels for persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals. The concentration of so-called ICES6-PCBs turned out to be low in the edible part of seafood, compared to the EU maximum value according to Regulation no. 1259/2011. The results also showed that the concentration of heavy metals, such as cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) in Icelandic seafood was always below the EU maximum values.


This report summarizes the results obtained in 2021 for the screening of various undesirable substances in the edible part of Icelandic marine catches.

The main aim of this project is to gather data and evaluate the status of Icelandic seafood products in terms of undesirable substances and to utilize the data to estimate the exposure of consumers to these substances from Icelandic seafood and risks related to public health. The surveillance program began in 2003 and was carried out for ten consecutive years before it was interrupted in 2013. The project was revived in March 2017 to fill in gaps of knowledge regarding the level of undesirable substances in economically important marine catches for Icelandic export. Due to financial limitations the surveillance now only covers screening for undesirable substances in the edible portion of marine catches for human consumption and not feed or feed components. The limited financial resources have also required the analysis of PAHs, PBDEs and PFCs to be excluded from the surveillance, providing somewhat more limited information than in 2013. However, it is considered a long-term project where extension and revision are constantly necessary. 

In general, the results obtained in 2021 were in agreement with previous results on undesirable substances in the edible part of marine catches obtained in the monitoring years 2003 to 2012 and 2017 to 2020.

In this report from the surveillance program, the maximum levels for dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs in foodstuffs (Commission Regulation 1259/2011) were used to evaluate how Icelandic seafood products measure up to limits currently in effect.

The results show that with regard to the maximum levels set in the regulation, the edible parts of Icelandic seafood products contain negligible amounts of dioxins, dioxin like and non-dioxin-like PCBs. In fact, all samples of seafood analyzed in 2021 were below EC maximum levels.

Furthermore, the concentration of ICES6-PCBs was found to be low in the edible part of the marine catches, compared to the maximum limits set by the EU (Commission Regulation 1259/2011). 

The results also revealed that the concentrations of heavy metals, eg cadmium
(Cd), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) in the edible part of marine catches were in all samples well below the maximum limits set by the EU.

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