Undesirable substances in seafood products - results from the Icelandic marine monitoring activities in the year 2011
In 2003, at the initiative of the Ministry of Fisheries, monitoring of undesirable substances in marine products, both for human consumption and products for the fish oil and flour industry, began. Matís has been entrusted with the supervision of the monitoring project. The purpose of the monitoring is to assess the condition of Icelandic marine products with regard to the amount of contaminants. The aim is also to collect independent scientific data on undesirable substances in seafood for the government, the fishing industry and buyers and consumers of Icelandic seafood. The data collected in the monitoring project will also be used in risk assessment and to build up a database on contaminants in the Icelandic ecosystem. Coverage of contaminants in marine products, both in the mainstream media and in scientific journals, has many times demanded the response of the Icelandic government. It is necessary to have scientific results available that show the actual condition of Icelandic seafood in order to prevent damage that may result from such coverage. Furthermore, the limits of contaminants are under constant review and it is important for Icelanders to participate in such a review and support their case with scientific data. This shows the importance of regular monitoring and that Iceland conducts independent research on such an important issue as marine product pollution. This report is a summary of the results of the monitoring for 2011. Assessment of the condition of Icelandic marine products with regard to contaminants is a long-term project and will only be carried out through continuous monitoring. Every year, therefore, the missing data is carefully reviewed, thus aiming to fill in the gaps. In 2011, for the first time, so-called PFC substances were measured in Icelandic seafood intended for human consumption as well as products for the fish oil and flour industry, but PFC substances are surfactants that have received increased attention due to their persistence and toxicity. The following substances were also measured: dioxin, dioxin-like PCBs and pointer PCBs, PBDEs, metals, as well as 12 different types of pesticides. In 2011, grayling roe was also measured, along with cod roe, gillnets and liver to assess the distribution of pollutants in these organs. Of the PCFs, PFOS was the only PFC that was detected above the limit of detection and the concentration of PFOS was generally low. As before, a small amount of undesirable substances was generally measured in Icelandic seafood in 2011 and no sample was measured with undesirable substances above the limit value.
This screening of undesirable substances in seafood products was initiated by the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture in the year 2003. Until then, this type of monitoring had been limited in Iceland. Matis was assigned the responsibility of carrying out the surveillance program, which has now been ongoing for eight consecutive years. The purpose of the project is to gather information and evaluate the status of Icelandic seafood products in terms of undesirable substances. Further, the aim of the project is to provide independent scientific data on undesirable substances in Icelandic seafood for food authorities, fisheries authorities, industry, markets and consumers. The information will also be utilized for a risk assessment and gathering of reference data. This report summarizes the results obtained in the year 2011 for the screening of various undesirable substances in the edible part of marine catches, fish meal and fish oil for feed. The evaluation of the status of the Icelandic seafood products in terms of undesirable substances is a long term project which can only be reached through continuous gathering of data. For this reason, both the undesirable substances and seafood samples are carefully selected each year with the aim to fill in the gaps of the available data. Thus, the project fills in gaps of knowledge regarding the level of undesirable substances in economically important marine catches for Icelandic export. In the year 2011, PFCs were analyzed for the first time in the edible part of fish, fish oil and meal for feed from Icelandic fishing grounds but PFCs is a group of surfactants that have received increased attention due to their persistence and toxic effects. In addition, data was collected on dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs, marker PCBs, 12 different types of pesticides, PBDEs and trace metals. Samples collected in 2011 generally contained low concentrations of undesirable substances. The year 2011, lumpfish roes as well as roes, sperm and liver of cod were analyzed in order to estimate the organ distribution of pollutants. PFOS was the only PFC analyzed above limits of detection and its concentration was generally low. These results are in agreement with our previous results obtained in the monitoring program in the years 2003 to 2010. No sample contained undesirable compounds exceeding the maximum level set by the EU.