UPCOMING PCB-contaminated wild salmon ‘scandal’? Swedish salmon exported to France & Germany, DK, UK (May 2013)

First posted 08.05.2013

The Swedish Television (SVT)’s investigative news programme ‘Uppdrag granskning’ unveiled last night (May 8) that ‘hundreds of tonnes’ of wild Atlantic salmon fished in the Baltic Sea had been exported by at least two firms to France; but also Germany, Denmark and the UK (albeit in smaller quantities)…

The problem? Wild Atlantic salmon (particularly large ones >4.4kg; and herring) from parts of the Baltic Sea has been deemed ‘unfit’ for human consumption by the European Union since 2001/2002 as they have been identified “as likely to contain” dioxin-like PCB levels exceeding EC maximum levels of dioxin compounds. Sweden, Finland and Latvia have however negotiated derogations for marketing and domestic consumption – “under certain conditions – for cultural reasons and because specific dietary advice is “freely available, easily accessible and clearly identifies special risk groups”.

Pontus Elvingsson of the Swedish National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) told the SVT programme: “The difference when compared to the horse-meat scandal is that this fish has long-term effects on people’s health, which makes it a serious issue.

One of the staff from the firms highlighted is quoted as saying that his company had discussed ‘whether the exporting was legal or not’: “But management said we’d keep selling and run the risk”…

The general manager of the firm near Boulogne-sur-Mer which imported the Swedish salmon into France – acknowledging imports of 102 tonnes in 2011 & 2012 – told the AFP: “Nobody came to tell us it was illegal”. ‘Uppdrag granskning’ says some of the salmon found its way to supermarket chains like Carrefour and Intermarché.

One can doubt/wonder if eNGOs/various lobbies will jump on the bandwagon of ‘cancer-causing salmon’, in a remake of the somewhat biased ‘January 2004’ crisis. The answer is ‘probably not’: this time, it is wild salmon which is in the spotlight…

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