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Scottish salmon safe to eat, says EU


The European Commission is satisfied that Scottish salmon is safe to eat, despite researchers in North America warning that the farmed variety sold in many supermarkets contains up to ten times more cancer causing chemicals than its wild counterpart, reports CORDIS.

A row over the safety of farmed salmon flared in the UK this week amid concerns over the levels of cancer-causing toxins present in the farmed variety compared to its wild sister following findings from a new US study.

Published last week in the journal Science and claiming to be 'the most comprehensive analysis to date of salmon toxin concentrations,?the study found levels of harmful dioxins and PCBs were significantly elevated in both European and North American farm-raised salmon when compared with wild Pacific salmon.

The team of American and Canadian researchers that carried out the study at Indiana university recommended that consumers would be wise to limit their intake of farmed salmon to just two ounces (around 50 grams) per month.

But according to the CORDIS report, a spokesperson for EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne said:"We agree with the assessment made by the UK food standards agency that the levels [of chemicals] in our European salmon do not exceed EU limits."

The UK Food Standards Agency had earlier stressed that the levels of dioxins and PCBs found in farmed salmon during the US led study were within World Health Organisation and EU guidelines. Those guidelines, which are based on scientific advice, were 'accurate and valid,' added the Commission spokesperson.

The Scottish salmon industry has accused the American researchers of being 'deliberately misleading'. Dr John Webster, a technical consultant for the industry body Scottish Quality Salmon, said that the research had ignored all the benefits of eating oil-rich farmed salmon on a regular basis.

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