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Salmon is safe (March 23, 2004)


There is no reason to be concerned about eating Norwegian salmon, says the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES).

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has data from Norwegian monitoring programmes which refutes the assertion made by American scientists claiming that Norwegian farm-raised salmon contain excessive levels of PCB, dioxins and other toxic substances.

Solid data
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has asked the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) to take a closer look at the American study. Some of the information given in the study gives reasons to believe there are weaknesses in the conclusions from the study.

"The Norwegian data we have on this area are based on larger and broader studies of the occurrence of contaminants in farmed salmon than the American study," says Are Sletta in the Norwegian Food Safety Authorityís section of Contaminants and Food Additives.

Also the Food Standards Agency in the UK counters the study and says in a press release that the study does not give rise to concern.

Salmon is safe

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority finds it unnecessary to give consumption advice for farm-raised salmon. Consequently, there is no need to reduce the consumption of farmed salmon to once a month as the American study indicates.

Press release from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, January 9 2004:

There is no reason to be concerned about eating Norwegian salmon, says the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES).

An American study published on 9 January 2004 examines the presentation of organic contaminants, including dioxins and PCBs. The study includes samples from four Norwegian fish farms.

NIFES has carried out surveillance of pollutants in fish for many years, and includes PCB and dioxins for the Norwegian Government (from 01.01.04 the Norwegian Food Authorities).

The content of dioxins in Norwegian salmon is well below the EUís upper limit. The mean concentration of dioxins (PCDD/F) in Norwegian farmed salmon (n=35) is 0,58 (range 0.25-1.19) pg WHO-TEQ/g. EUís upper limit for dioxins in fish is 4 pg (PCDD/F) WHO-TEQ/g. Norwegian farmed salmon is therefore well below the limit set by the EU.

NIFES still recommends the population to consume fish, including Norwegian farmed salmon.

For more information please contact:
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority - Are Sletta, tel: + 47 23 21 66 59
The National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) . Dr. Anne-Katrine Lundebye Haldorsen - mobile phone: + 47 48 18 50 33, or + 47 55 90 51 20