Irish fish toxin levels test safe
legal limits and are unlikely to present a risk human heath, the
Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said yesterday.
The regulator issued assurances that the tests conducted on a variety of fish products shows that people can still continue to eat the recommended two servings of fish a week.
The study was undertaken following concerns about the possible effects on human health of environmental contaminants in fish products, and the subsequent effects on consumption patters.
The statement follows the publication of the results of a comprehensive survey conducted by the regulator into the levels of dioxins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in 70 products available on the Irish market, including canned tuna and farmed salmon.
Of all products tested from those collected for analysis during the second half of 2004, canned tuna contained the lowest levels of dioxins and furans.
According to the EU Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) exposure to dioxins and furans can result in a wide range of toxic responses, including those relating to skin problems, the immune system, cancer, reproduction and possible neurobehavioral effects.
The other toxins tested for have been linked as potentials causes of a range of adverse health effects, including development problems and hormone disruption.
FSAI's deputy chief executive Alan Reilly stressed the importance of consumers continuing to appreciate the role and benefits of fish in a healthy diet.
"Although fish is a recognised dietary source of dioxins, furans and PCBs, this study highlights that the levels of these contaminants are low in Irish fish products," he said.
The FSAI said it would continue to survey information and co-ordinate further testing.
The study was conducted in collaboration with the Marine Institute and An Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), an fish industry body.
"Together with the Marine Institute and BIM, we will continue to closely monitor the levels of these contaminants in Irish produce in order to protect the health of the Irish consumer," said Reilly.