Aquaculture fish is heavily contaminated with the chemical ethoxyquin. This is shown by a Greenpeace analysis of fish products from salmon, trout, sea bream and sea bass.
A total of 54 fish products were examined in the laboratory. The samples come from German supermarkets and organic markets. Frozen fish, smoked and fresh fish from aquaculture, organic aquaculture and wild catch were examined.
The shocking result: All 38 fish samples from conventional aquaculture were contaminated with the chemical ethoxyquin. 32 samples are clearly visible above the permissible EU limit for meat (50 micrograms per kilogram).
A salmon product from a Norwegian aquaculture ("Stremel Salmon" by Real) has the highest ethoxyquin load at 881 micrograms per kilo – more than 17 times the meat limit.
The contamination of fish from organic aquaculture is well below this limit – with one exception (organic salmon fillet from Edeka). As a rule, ethoxyquin does not occur in organic feed. No ethoxyquin was found in wild catches.
All results of the Greenpeace investigation can be found in this table (PDF).
Ethoxyquin: prohibited as a plant protection product, allowed as a feed additive
The chemical ethoxyquin is used to make animal feed such as fish meal stable for transport. It was also used as a crop protection product until 2011 – when the EU Commission no longer approved the active ingredient due to "a number of concerns". However, it can still be used as a feed additive.
“Ethoxyquin is a banned crop protection product and has lost nothing in fish. It is negligent that this chemical ends up in the environment and on the plate of consumers. ”
says Thilo Maack, fishing expert at Greenpeace. The environmental protection organization is calling for an EU-wide ban on ethoxyquin as a feed additive and a ban on the sale of heavily contaminated fish products.
How exactly ethoxyquin affects our health and the environment is still not fully understood. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has so far no judgment on the toxicity of ethoxyquin like. However, there are individual studies that suggest that ethoxyquin can damage the genetic material and change the liver metabolism and can even be carcinogenic.
Which fish can you still eat??
Thilo Maack from Greenpeace advises:
"Rarely and consciously eat fish, take a close look when buying fish, avoid fish from conventional aquaculture and choose wild fish that are not overfished." From an ecological point of view, he shows which fish species from which types of fishing and keeping can (still) be bought Greenpeace fish guide.
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