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Experts warning against farmed salmon consumption draws concern

June 12, 2013 - Aquaculture News
Experts warning against farmed salmon consumption draws concern

Following a debate regarding the health dangers of eating farmed salmon due to its high level of toxins, it has been revealed that Norwegian authorities have lobbied in the European Union (EU) to allow farmed salmon to contain higher toxin levels. This comes as Norwegian doctors and international experts are recommending that women, children and adolescents should avoid eating farmed salmon because of their high toxin content.

According to a report of the newspaper Aftenposten, Norway has been trying for years to get the EU to allow the content of a toxin, endosulfan, to be 10 times higher in farmed salmon than previously allowed. Norway has finally received this approval in the EU. The consultation document from the FSA states that Norway will benefit economically from having a higher limit of endosulfan allowed in its farmed salmon.

“The limit value for the concentration of endosulfan in feed for salmonids is of great economic importance for the aquaculture industry in the short and longer term,” the letter reads, The Nordic Page reports. Although endosulfan used to be banned for use in feed for all farmed salmonids, research has shown that the fish can withstand the poison better if administered through feed than by being exposed to it in the water.

Anne-Lise Bjørke Monsen, specialist at Bergen’s Haukeland University Hospital, also worries about the presence of Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as PCBs and DDT accumulating in farmed salmon. These pollutants have a negative effect on brain development and are associated with various disorders including autism and ADHD.

“I don’t recommend pregnant women, children, or young people eat farmed salmon. There is too much uncertainty regarding the amount of toxins salmon contains and how these affect children, adolescents and pregnant women,” said Bjørke Monsen, The Foreigner reports.

Opponents are condemning the fisheries minister for not taking the debate seriously. Many have expressed concern that the debate about the potential health hazards of eating farmed salmon could have a negative impact on the Norwegian salmon export industry.

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