Fresh salmon sold in five major supermarkets was found to contain trace levels of pesticide DDT
Pesticides have been found in fresh salmon sold by leading supermarkets.Farmed salmon from Norway and Scotland is hugely popular as a healthy oily fish.
However, the production process involves dousing the fish, reared in cages moored in the sea, in chemicals to kill parasitic lice.
They are also given a protein feed, created from small waste fish which can be contaminated with chemicals from the environment – including DDT and its by-products.Trace levels of these chemicals were found in fish sold by Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Iceland. DDT was banned for use almost 30 years ago because of its risk to human health.
A recently published study suggested a link between DDT, an associated by-product compound called pp-DDE and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.
Official studies show farmed salmon is more likely to carry traces of chemical pesticides than any other food type.
The Pesticides Residues Monitoring Programme, which is overseen by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), tested farmed salmon and trout sold in the supermarkets.
The figures from 2013, which have just been released through a Freedom of Information Act request, found the pesticides pp-DDE, Dieldrin and Cypermethrin, as well as other chemicals, in fish sold by supermarkets.
Dieldrin, a powerful pesticide, was banned in the 1970s.
It has been linked to health problems such as Parkinson’s, breast cancer, and immune, reproductive, and nervous system damage.
Cypermethrin is a pesticide used on farmed salmon to kill off lice that live on the captive fish.
The results revealed two samples of rainbow trout fillets from the UK sold by Morrisons tested positive for Dieldrin, while salmon sold by Iceland also tested positive. Tesco Everyday Value salmon fillets from Norway were found to contain traces of pp-DDE.
The production process of salmon involves covering the fish in chemicals to kill parasitic lice. The creatures are also given a protein feed which can be contaminated with chemicals from the environment - including DDT and its by-products.
The chemicals accumulate in the fat of the fish. Salmon which is farmed is far fattier than the wild fish and therefore more likely to carry chemical traces.
The details were revealed by Don Staniford, Director of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture, who is a long standing critic of fish farms.
He said: ‘Farmed salmon is the most contaminated food on the supermarket shelf. It should carry a Government health warning.
‘Salmon farmers can decontaminate fish feed – this has been known for decades but the industry has refused to take action.’
Government experts have ruled that the chemical levels are so low as to not pose a risk, say the HSE.
The HSE added that it ‘does detect and report occasional residues of substances used to control lice on fish. When used for this purpose these substances are regulated as veterinary medicines.’
The British Retail Consortium, which speaks for food stores, said: ‘The HSE has confirmed the microscopic residues present no issues for consumers.
‘The chemical banned since the 1980s is still present in minute levels in the environment and the survey is to assess the levels present.’