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Mercury in fish

Report no:

Ordered: 28.02.2018

Publishing: 05.04.2019


Key message:

The Norwegian Scientiffic Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) will assess the risk of mercury in fish.

Recreational fishing and consumption of self-caught fish is considerable in some parts of the population.

VKM will assess fish caught in areas with a lot of mercury and populations that are particularly vulnerable. Fetal and infants are vulnerable, because mercury is particularly harmful to the central nervous system when it is being developed.

Mercury is found in both organic (methyl mercury) and inorganic form. Most often the shapes are measured together, like total mercury. Methyl mercury is most harmful. It is also the form of mercury that we find primarily in fish and seafood.

Overview of fish species

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) has requested VKM to make scenario calculations that illustrate which concentrations of mercury in fish that can lead to the exceedance of tolerable weekly intake.

VKM shall evaluate different quantities and different types of fish. VKM will also provide an overview of which fish species in Norway have a high content of mercury.

Mercury content in fish varies

There are mercury in all fish and seafood, but the levels vary with type of fish, size and where the fish is caught. T

The European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, has established tolerable weekly intake of methyl mercury of 1.3 micrograms per kilogram of body weight, and 4 micrograms per kilogram of body weight for inorganic mercury.

The VKM`s Panel on contaminants will be responsible for the assessment. The assessment will be published 6. February 2019.

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00
@: vkm@vkm.no


P.O. box 222 Skøyen
0213 Oslo

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