The square separates the labeling of fish that are below the EU dioxin limit ( lake – trout on the left) from fish that exceeds the limit ( herring right).
The dioxin problem is poorly known among consumers. One reason is the relatively invisible labeling of fish products likely to contain dioxin at concentrations higher than the threshold of 4 picograms per gram of fresh weight as defined by the EU and WHO . Or did you know that the fish package must look out for an oval or a rectangle with the text ” Suomi / Finland xxx EY ” ?
These marks are less than a centimeter large and therefore difficult to detect. It is hardly common knowledge that the oval alone applies to fish from fresh water or fish from the Baltic Sea which are not found to exceed the EU limit . The oval inside a square to appear on herring , salmon , lamprey and trout products derived from the Baltic Sea. Herring, salmon , lamprey and trout from the repeated surveys are found to exceed the EU limits for fish that may be sold as human consumption .
If you did not know the label , you can comfort yourself with that generally do not fish vendors or even the fish managers in large supermarket chains . We asked about the wild Finnish salmon have rectangular label on shipping box at a fish counter in the center of Helsinki. The fish had dioxin – marking quite accurate, but retailers were not aware of its importance.
Finland’s state of emergency
In order to secure the Baltic fisheries within their respective borders with Sweden and Finland received exceptional authorization to market fish exceeding the dioxin limit during a transitional period ending in the year. Permit conditions require that consumers be informed about the health risks of dioxin in food causes and recommended limits on consumption of fish from the Baltic Sea. Under EU Regulation 199/2006 should also all operators on the fish away from the sea to the table to take all necessary steps to limit the amount of dioxins and PCBs in food.
Finland through the recommendations Food Safety Authority EVIRA ufärdat ( see box) , informing consumers about the risks associated with eating herring, salmon and trout from the Baltic Sea. The only question is how well-known these limitations are .
The state also requires that something be done to reduce the levels of dioxin and dioxin- like compounds in the environment. This is a difficult question because dioxins are not produced intentionally . They are by-products formed during combustion and the production of chemicals such as PCBs. In Finland the ground at the sawmill where timber previously impregnated with pentachlorophenol difficult contaminated with dioxins. The same goes for the bottom sediments of Kymi River . Dioxins are also found in the sediments in the Baltic Sea. Dioxins spread additionally still the airway by incomplete combustion.
New application to extend an exemption
This spring prepares Finland – and even Sweden and Latvia – a new application to the EU that for the third time renewal license for the sale of Baltic fish with high levels of dioxins. As part of the application process has Game and Fisheries Research Institute has collected approximately 1,000 samples of the relevant fish species. The samples were analyzed at the Institute of Health and Welfare . The project , known as the EU kalat II also participates Finnish Environment Institute and Finnish Food Safety Authority EVIRA , the latter as project coordinator.
The results of the comprehensive study is already largely complete, but EVIRA publish them until the end of May. At that stage, probably Finland’s application to the EU already be filed . Then it is no longer as relevant as having a general debate on whether fish with current dioxin levels whatsoever shall be permitted that human consumption .
Dioxin damage salmon growth?
New research shows that current levels of dioxins and related compounds in fish tissue can have harmful effects on the fish itself. Last year published a Norwegian study where salmon were reared on fish pellets of two kinds : first, general use pellets with low levels of POPs ( including dioxins and PCBs) and partly pellets purified from POP. In the final phase of the study had the fish during their upbringing with purified pellets grew faster and had the meat of better quality than those who received pellets containing POPs . The fatty tissue of the fish with slower growth had levels of dioxins and related compounds that were only about 30 percent of the EU limit .
Against this background , there is reason to suspect that the current significantly higher dioxin and PCB levels in Baltic salmon can harm the fish growth.
Dioxin levels must be brought down
Finnish and Swedish derogations from EU dioxin rules have been defended by the Europeans collectively absorb as much dioxin as the inhabitants of the Baltic sjöländerna . The only difference is that the main dioxin source in Central Europe are milk and meat, while over 80 percent of dioxin in the Norsemen’s body descended from fish.
We should not be satisfied with the argument that we ”only” have in us as much dioxin as among Europeans . The objective must be to reduce the incidence of all dioxins both in the environment and in the human body to harmless levels. Very little is known about the long-term effects of dioxin and even less about the combined effects of the cocktail of different foreign and harmful substances found in our bodies.
For the time being , we must be content to follow EVIRA ‘s dietary guidelines , eat fish 1-2 times a week and fish from the Baltic Sea more than 1-2 times per month. Both from a health point of view and also purely organic it makes sense to eat fish of smaller size. Larger and older individuals should as far as possible be left in the ocean so they can proliferate because on average they are more successful in their play than small individuals .
Not more than twice a month
EVIRA has the following recommendations with regard to Baltic fish as human consumption :
– Large herring (> 17 cm, comes often finished profiled fish) should not be eaten more frequently than 1-2 times a month.
– Alternatively , you can eat salmon or trout from the Baltic Sea more than 1-2 times per month
Smaller fish have had time to store smaller amounts of contaminants . By skin herring can remove a lot of dioxin and other harmful substances that are tied up in fish skin’s fatty tissue.