Controversial academic returns to the fray over salmon –

Controversial academic returns to the fray over salmon Published:  10 August, 2004

Scottish Quality Salmon, which represents Scottish salmon farmers, have reacted angrily to the publication of new research by a US academic.

Brian Simpson, the organisation’s chief executive, said David Carpenter was scare-mongering.

Carpenter, who produced a study earlier in the year claiming toxins were present in farmed fish, has produced a second piece on work looking at the presence of another group of chemicals in farmed fish.

Mr Simpson said: “Listening to activists could be bad for your health. The publication of a paper by Americans Ronald Hites and David Carpenter, regarding PBDEs in salmon in Environmental Science & Technology is yet another example of the tactics being used by wealthy American anti-Scottish salmon farming campaigners to scare the public.”

Mr Simpson pointed out that the Food Standards Agency has recently published recommendations that consumers should regularly eat Omega 3 rich fish such as farmed salmon.

He continued: “Eating two portions a week of oily fish (including Scottish farmed salmon) is good for everyone. Four portions a week is even better for boys, men and older women.

“To suggest that we should be eating less is highly irresponsible.”

The Carpenter research is looking at the presence of PBDEs. PBDEs are used as flame retardants in fabrics and soft furnishing and can be absorbed by breathing in dust from sofas, cushions, and padded mattresses. They are present in many computers, televisions, mobile phones and other electrical equipment.

A statement from US pro-salmon farming group Salmon of the Americas insisted that the amounts of these chemicals found in the Carpenter samples were “trace” amounts. The statement said: “While it is regrettable that any salmon, or any other foods, contain contaminants, it is important to note that, as with other organic contaminants, the total intake of PBDEs from farmed salmon is only a fraction of what it is from other foods.”

It continued: “The highest PBDE levels in the Hites study were found in wild salmon. This fact and information from other studies is at odds with the authors’ conclusion that consumers should consume wild over farmed salmon.”

Previous studies have put the presence of these chemicals at 1.6 parts per billion (ppb) for farmed and 0.7 ppb for wild salmon.

Other fish, said the group, have also been found to have higher levels of the chemical. A 2003 Environmental Working Group study found average levels of 17 ppb in bass and 22 ppb in perch in San Francisco Bay. Other studies show similar levels in a variety of marine and freshwater fish, the group said.

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