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Cod liver from the Baltic Sea contains too many environmental toxins: consumption could harm health
The Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Ministry of Agriculture warns nationwide of the consumption of cod liver from the Baltic Sea at home. The liver of the fish contains a lot of environmental toxins, as the ministry said in a statement. The environmental pollution is so high that it is difficult for the human organism to absorb it. "The body can hardly process the environmental toxins," says a statement published today. The cod meat itself is still edible, only the liver should no longer be eaten.
Furans, PCBs and dioxins in cod liver
200 grams of cod liver are sufficient to sustainably contaminate the body with toxins. The Ministry of Agriculture in Schwerin therefore strongly warns consumers against eating the delicacy popular among fish connoisseurs. During an in-house study, 21 samples of Baltic cod liver were taken and tested for toxins in the laboratory. All samples showed that the cod liver from the Baltic Sea is heavily contaminated with dioxins, furans and the organic chlorine compounds PCB. "The specified maximum levels were always exceeded in all cod liver samples".
The Agriculture Minister Till Backhaus (SPD) confirmed that the fish processing industry, trade and associations have already been informed. The sale had been stopped by the authorities so that cod liver from the Baltic Sea no longer reaches the supermarkets. Backhaus also pointed out that the cod liver from the Atlantic is still considered safe. Here the values were not exceeded, the minister said.
The problem has been known for a long time. Five years ago, the fish processing company "Rügenfisch" in Sassnitz announced that it would no longer process cod liver from the Baltic Sea. "At that time, we didn't want to take the risk that environmental toxins such as dioxin might exceed the limit," said Klaus Peper, CEO of the company.
The results, which were determined in the samples of the laboratory of the State Office for Agriculture, Food Safety and Fisheries, exhausted the "tolerance amount for a single consumption of 200 grams of Baltic Sea liver for around 48 weeks" according to the Ministry of Agriculture. With this amount, tolerance is "fully exhausted".
The cod fish meat, on the other hand, is said to be "harmless". The cod itself is a so-called "lean fish", which is why poisons cannot become excessively attached. The analyzes in the laboratory had also found only small amounts of pesticides.
Environmental toxins that can cause cancer
PCB and dioxins are considered highly toxic and carcinogenic. The pollutants are long-lasting compounds that are deposited in the body's fat. Because the toxic substances are broken down only slowly, the risk of cancer increases with each further intake of the substances. Long-term consequences can also be a significant weakening of the immune system and disorders of the nervous system. Basically, food experts want to keep these substances out of the food chain "as far as possible".
In everyday life, consumers ingest dioxins and furans primarily through the consumption of meat, eggs or fish. The poisons then accumulate in body fat and especially in the liver. Recent studies have also shown that pesticides in pregnant women and mothers can pose a health risk for the unborn or breastfeeding child. The poisons are deposited in the mother cake and breast milk and are thus transmitted to the child.
The toxins dioxin and PCB are caused by combustion processes in industry. It is often contaminated sites from past days that have contaminated the soil and water. By eating hay and animal feed, for example, cows or hens absorb the toxins and pass them on to humans in the form of eggs or meat. Therefore, there are always "dioxin scandals". (sb)
Image: Gerd Altmann, Pixelio.de