All food products contain trace amounts of environmental contaminants. Dioxins, PCBs, dioxin-like PCBs, and heavy metal have been released into the ocean by human industrial activities for many decades and been transferred with ocean currents towards the north. As such, fatty fish from Northern Europe, which is turned into fish oil, may be a source of such substances in salmon feed. This is not the case for fish oil from South America.
Environmental contaminants in our feed and fish are kept far below the safe limits set by the food safety authorities around the world. In Norway and the UK, the limits on such substances in seafood are set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), based on the best available research. In British Columbia, the limits are set according to the requirements by the destination country of the exported seafood product.
At the end of 2018, the European Food Safety Authority published new scientific advice, which suggested lowering the allowed limit of environmental contaminants in food. Norwegian Authorities are currently conducting a new risk assessment where they will evaluate nutrient benefits and risks based on the new EFSA advice.
To be on the safe side, and based on the new knowledge from the European Food Safety Authority, Grieg Seafood is now purifying the fish oil based on fisheries from Northern Europe that goes into our feed.
Monitoring programmes of environmental contaminants
EU Directive 96/23 EC requires a monitoring program for undesirable substances in aquaculture products, to ensure that food does not contain residues above legal limits. In Norway, the program is administered by the Food Safety Authority and the Institute of Marine Research. Since the program began in 1998, residue levels have remained significantly below the recommended maximum limits. Read the latest results here.
Grieg Seafood run our own monitoring program where we include dioxin, PCBs, dioxin-like PCBs and heavy metals.
Ethoxyquin is an antioxidant that can be used as an additive to prevent oxidation and preserve high quality of feed raw materials during transport. Grieg Seafood is no longer using raw materials with added ethoxyquin in Norway and the UK, and will stop using it in Canada by end of 2020.
We work systematically to ensure product safety at all stages of production. Before harvesting the fish, we perform a risk analysis of each location to assess levels of environmental pollutants, residual foreign substances and bacteria.
We maintain a constant focus on high standards of hygiene at our harvesting plants, and set the standards for transport and storage. We have Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems at the plants, approved by national food safety authorities. HACCP is a management system which maintains food safety through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards - from raw materials, production, procurement, and handling, to manufacturing, distribution, and consumption of the finished product.
The certifications BAP and GLOBALG.A.P. cover our entire supply chain.
Group Quality Network
Our GSF Group Quality Network performs a continuous review of hygiene-related challenges at our harvesting plants. Microbiology and safe food production is the main area of focus. We work to prevent introduction, contamination and establishment of Listeria monocytogenes in the production environment and have plans to remove Listeria if detected. We perform thousands of Listeria tests every year at our harvesting plants, both on the fish and in the plant environment.
We have a fully integrated value chain from roe to harvest, and the production management program Fishtalk and trading system Maritech provides documentation and full traceability. Fishtalk also provides a complete record of all feed used and treatments applied.