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New Project Will Assess Level of Contaminants in Seafood

25 March 2013

GLOBAL - ECsafeSEAFOOD is a new €5 million pioneering project that will address the challenge of assessing seafood safety issues relating to priority contaminants that may be present as a result of environmental contamination.

The project will evaluate the impact the presence of these contaminants is having on public health, leading to improved seafood risk management and increased public awareness.

Pollution of the oceans and climate change are giving rise to concerns not just about the status of the marine environment, but also about their impact on seafood safety and public health. As there is rarely a well-defined quantitative links between levels of contaminants in the marine environment and levels in seafood, there is clearly a need for increased research on the transfer of contaminants from the marine environment to seafood. ECsafeSEAFOOD will tackle and redress this knowledge gap.

ECsafeSEAFOOD, or to give the project its official title, Priority environmental contaminants in seafood: safety assessment, impact and public perception, is funded by the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Union (EU) and led by the Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA, I.P.), Portugal, and will run for four years. ECsafeSEAFOOD brings together a multidisciplinary consortium of 18 institutions from nine EU countries and Norway. The project officially kicked-off with a partnership meeting in February 2013 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr Antonio Marques is the project's coordinator. “The ECsafeSEAFOOD project will explore whether there is a relationship between the contamination of the marine environment and the quality of the seafood we consume. The health benefits of eating seafood have been proved in many different ways andECsafeSEAFOOD aims to develop tools to ensure these benefits will be the same in the future,” he explains.

Dr Marques adds: “The ECsafeSEAFOOD project will provide scientific evidence to serve as a basis for the further development of common food safety as well as public health and environmental policies and measures”.

ECsafeSEAFOOD is an interdisciplinary project bringing together scientists from different food science disciplines, including: ecotoxicology; biochemistry; nutrition; risk assessment; seafood quality; and consumer behaviour and perceptions. The partnership also includes SMEs in order to facilitate the transfer and uptake of research to interested parties.

TheFishSite News Desk

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