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Chemosphere. 2009 Mar;74(11):1420-8. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.12.023. Epub 2009 Jan 14.

Fish products available in Polish market--assessment of the nutritive value and human exposure to dioxins and other contaminants.

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  • 1Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia, Department of Food and Environment Chemistry, 1 Kollataja Str., Gdynia PL 81-332, Poland. zygmunt@mir.gdynia.pl


Chemical analyses were performed on one hundred and twenty of the most popular varieties of fish products (smoked fish, salted fish, and marinated fish) of the fish market in Poland. The contents of the nutritive substances of fish products (protein, micro- and macronutrients, vitamins A(1), D(3), E, and fatty acids) and the chosen contaminant (toxic metals--mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic; dioxin/furans--PCDDFs; dioxin-like PCB--dl-PCBs; seven congeners of polybrominated diphenyl ethers--PBDEs; organochlorine pesticides--SigmaDDT, HCB, SigmaHCH and marker polychlorinated biphenyls--PCB(7)) levels were determined. It was confirmed that fish products are a good source of digestible proteins, iodine, selenium, and vitamin D(3). The fundamental nutritive benefit of processed fish lies in its highly beneficial fatty acid composition, which is what imparts them healthy nutritive qualities. The high content of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs), which is not noted in other food products, is particularly important. The majority of contaminants studied were present in low levels. The possible threats, particularly in the case of pregnant/nursing women and young children, can pose the levels of dioxin/furans (PCDD/Fs) and dioxin-like (dl-PCBs) in smoked Baltic salmon and smoked sprat, elevated in a relation to particular requirements concerning the content of sum of PCDD/Fs and dl-PCBs in fish (8pg WHO-TEQg(-1)). The health benefits and risks stemming from consumption of fish products were determined according to the Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake (PTWI) for chosen contaminants (Cd, Hg, As, PCDD/Fs+dl-PCB) and the quantity of ingredients that render a fish diet healthy based on data from the EFSA Journal [EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), 2005. Opinion of the scientific panel on contaminants in the food chain on a request from the European Parliament related to the safety assessment of wild and farmed fish. EFSA J. 236, 1-118]. In regard of high content of LC-PUFAa and other nutritive ingredients, fish products available in Polish market may be considered as healthy food. However, many authors point at contaminants (methylmercury, PCDD/Fs) occurring in fish and fish products as on potential health problem, and emphasize that the amount of that hazardous substances should be limited in human diet.

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