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Monitoring programme for veterinary control on seafood products imported to Norway from third countries – results from 2018

Most seafood imported from third countries comply with microbiological criteria

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 05:30 (GMT + 9)

Microorganisms and parasites were only rarely detected in seafood products imported to Norway from third countries in 2018, according to a new report published by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR).

The  report  summarises  results  from  the  ongoing  monitoring  programme  for  veterinary  border  control  on  seafood products imported to Norway from countries outside the EU and the European Economic Area from 2018.  

The IMR carried out analytical work on behalf of the  Norwegian  Food  Safety Authority (NFSA), in cooperation with the personnel at the  Norwegian  Border  Inspection  Posts (BIPs).

The current trend of hazards, as reported in The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) notification system, the compositional nature of the products and the annual import quantity of relevant products, was evaluated in this risk assessment.

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A total of 122 samples from the NFSA, collected at the BIPs, were examined by a selection of analytical methods and assays for microorganisms, parasites and undesirable chemical substances in 2018. Microbiological analyses were performed on 104 samples.

The results for microbiological indicator organisms for faecal contamination were mostly below detection limit or showed low bacterial counts. The microbiological quality parameters and indicator organisms for faecal contamination generally showed low numbers. However, higher counts were found in one sample of yellowfin tuna imported from the Maldives and one sample of Pacific cod imported from Thailand. L. monocytogenes was detected in low quantity in one sample of Pacific cod from Thailand and in one sample of Norwegian herring re-imported to Norway from Egypt.

No samples had pathogens in the genera Salmonella. Enterobacteriaceae was detected in one sample of feed imported from Chile. Yeast was found intwo samples of feed from Chile, and in one sample of dried yellow stripe trevally from Thailand and in migas from China. Mould was detected in the same dried yellow stripe trevally from Thailand and in migas from China. Parasitological examination was carried out on 40 fish samples. Nematodes were found in nine of them (22.5%).



Since fish were imported frozen, nematodes were dead and not infective. Thirteen seafood samples originating from aquaculture were analysed for residues of prohibited veterinary medicines, unauthorised dyes and antibacterial agents. None of these were detected. The chemical spoilage indicators histamine and total volatile basic nitrogen wasexamined in nineteen samples and all results were compliant with the maximum levels. Undesirable trace elementswere measured in 89 samples.

A sample of canned sardine in oil from the Philippines exceeded the maximum Cd level. A sample of small crabs from Thailand, assuming they were intended to be consumed whole, were slightly above the Pb maximum level. A frozen fillet sample of yellowfin tuna imported from Vietnam exceeded the Hg maximum level.

Twenty-eight samples were analysed for the persistent organic pollutants dioxins/ furans and PCBs (DLPCBs andNDLPCBs), the PBDE class of compounds, the PAH class of compounds and organochlorine pesticides. One sample offish oil from Turkey was found non-compliant with its maximum levels for dioxins and for the sum of dioxins and dioxinlike PCBs. The levels of PBDEs in twenty-eight samples, and also the fifteen samples analysed for organochlorine pesticides, were within a range commonly observed in seafood. For the PAH class of compounds, one sample was analysed, and found compliant with its maximum levels.

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