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Every year, NIFES monitors the content of undesirable substances in wild fish, shellfish and crustaceans. We also analyse fish feed and farmed fish for undesirable substances on assignment for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

How NIFES monitors wild fish, shellfish and crustaceans

NIFES has conducted a thorough investigation of contaminants in the most important commercial wild fish stocks. This called a baseline study. Such studies have so far been conducted for mackerel, Norwegian spring-spawning herring, North Sea herring, Greenland halibut, cod and saithe. A follow-up plan is made for each species on the basis of the results from the baseline study. This follow-up shall ensure that any changes in the levels of undesirable substances are registered. The content of undesirable substances in wild fish is analysed annually for some species, but less often for other species. Some species have so are harvested in low volumes and baseline studies are not conducted. In such cases, random samples are taken.

How feed and farmed fish are monitored

The content of undesirable substances in farmed fish and fish feed are analysed annually for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. This monitoring is regulated under EU Directive 96/23, and requires the Norwegian Food Safety Authority to take one sample of farmed fish for every 100 tonnes of farmed fish produced. In the last few years, about 12,000 farmed fish have been analysed every year. Individual samples or composite samples (five and five fish) are analysed in accordance with a detailed analysis plan. Around one third of the samples are analysed for illegal substances, while the rest are analysed for residues of undesirable substances or legal veterinary products. A detailed overview of the number of samples, analysis scope and results is available at

Fish feed is also analysed on an annual basis for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, and the report is available at

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is notified

If NIFES finds undesirable substances in the fish, in quantities above permitted maximum values, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) is notified. If necessary, NFSA then implements measures, such as issuing dietary warnings and setting limitations.

The content of nutrients and undesirable substances in seafood is available at

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