Thursday, 8 February 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
45. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources his views on whether the findings of the World Health Organisation which indicated that the level of toxins in fish farmed salmon is ten times as high as levels in wild Atlantic salmon; if this report relates to salmon produced here; and if not, the studies that are being carried out to determine the level of toxins in fish farmed salmon here. [1902/01]
Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): The World Health Organisation in a statement of clarification issued on 5 January 2001, advised that contrary to media reports it has not received or reviewed purported data showing higher levels of chemicals, including dioxins, in farmed salmon compared to wild varieties. WHO has not recommended a maximum daily intake for salmon.
Polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs, are persistent organic pollutants that are principally the result of industrial processes. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has been working closely with the Marine Institute which has been monitoring PCBs and other environmental contaminants in wild fish for a number of years, and more recently in farmed fish.
There are as yet no EU standards for PCBs in fish. Analysis of sampling undertaken as part of the 1999 programme for Irish farmed fish shows that the concentration of PCBs was considerably lower than the strictest international standards. The Food Safety Authority has stated that based on the average level of oily fish consumption and the maximum PCB contamination levels found in Irish salmon, Irish consumers are not exposed to any appreciable risk.
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