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Seafood safety

How undesirable substances in seafood affect food safety

The seafood we eat must be safe. NIFES therefore carry out annual monitoring measures to map the content of illegal and undesirable substances in wild fish, farmed fish, fish products and fish feed.

All food, including egg, milk, vegetables, meat and fish, contains small amounts of undesirable substances. The amounts of undesirable substances in all food sold must be at levels below the applicable maximum limits for such substances, regardless of whether the food was caught (such as mackerel and herring) or whether it was produced by humans (such as farmed salmon). Food produced in Norway is monitored in accordance with EU regulations, and NIFES has also monitored the wild species for several years. In Norway, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority is responsible for collecting samples of farmed fish, while NIFES analyses the samples and reports back to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

Fillets from wild species such as mackerel, herring, cod and saithe must be below the same maximum limits as fillets from salmon in order to be sold in the market. For a long time, this monitoring was based on spot checks, but in recent years, NIFES has carried out thorough baseline studies of these species. These studies have provided a good overview of the levels of undesirable substances in herring, mackerel, cod, saithe and Greenland halibut.

NIFES also studies the impact of undesirable substances on our health, and how nutrients and undesirable substances influence each other.

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