The group says that in advising how much salmon should be eaten, the study ignores all the health benefits of regular farmed salmon consumption as reported in over 5,000 scientific studies. In addition, the article also misuses the risk assessment guidelines provided by the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), which are meant to be applied to non-commercially caught fish and should include consideration of health benefits.
"In fact, consumers should be reassured by this research, despite its rather obvious attempt to stir anti-fish farming headlines," said Scottish Quality Salmon (SQS) technical consultant Dr John Webster.
"It actually says that 'individual contaminant concentrations in farmed and wild salmon do not exceed US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) action or tolerance levels'. This is true. PCB and dioxin levels in Scottish salmon are significantly lower than the thresholds set by international watchdogs such as the EU, the Food Standards Agency or even the US FDA."
The SQS says that salmon produced by its members - which represents some 65 per cent of Scottish production - is done so to stringent quality assurance standards. It also claims that it has already taken steps to maximise levels of beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids and minimise PCB and dioxin levels.
The controversy is not the first to raise questions about the safety of farmed salmon. A year ago the European Commission moved to reduce the amount of one additive, canthaxanthin, which can be used to exaggerate salmon's pink colouring. That followed evidence that high intake of the chemical could affect human eyesight.