Russia’s consumer protection body to help update seafood arsenic content requirements

June 1, 2021 09:56

Russia’s consumer protection body Rospotrebnadzor has joined the working group to help update the requirements for the content of arsenic in fish products, the current obsolete rates preventing an increase in consumption of a number of valuable species, reports

The revision of the existing standards and harmonization with international requirements is being discussed at the initiative of the Federal Agency for Fishery (FAF) in order to prepare a scientific justification for the separate determination of the organic and inorganic forms of arsenic in aquatic bioresources. Experts are also preparing proposals for amendments to the regulatory documents on the level of the maximum content of arsenic in fish and seafood.

The recent meeting of the group, chaired by the FAF Deputy Head Vasily Sokolov, which was also attended by representatives of Rospotrebnadzor, discussed the progress of research of the Federal Research Center for Nutrition and Biotechnology and the Federal Research Center for Medical and Preventive Technologies for Managing Public Health Risks. On the basis of their results, relevant proposals will be prepared.

According to FAF, the determination of the overall indicator for arsenic without dividing it into organic and inorganic and the permissible rate of its content in fish products, as defined by Russian legislation, are no longer relevant and hinder the development of fishery for several lucrative species while also restricting the supply of fish to the domestic market. Due to the imperfection of the current legislation, the losses of the domestic market are estimated at least at 160 thousand tons.

Currently, the total arsenic (organic + inorganic) is regulated and its content should not exceed 5 mg/kg.

At the same time, unlike in Russia, many countries do not have standards for the content of arsenic. This applies, for example, to Japan and South Korea, where large amounts of fish are consumed, and the average life expectancy of the population is higher than in Russia. In some countries, it is considered necessary to regulate only inorganic arsenic compounds.

According to FAF, the current norm on arsenic is not actually aimed at the health of citizens, so it is necessary to regulate inorganic arsenic and tighten the standards for it. At the same time, organic arsenic compounds may be relaxed.

The Rospotrebnadzor also supports existing initiatives to review the established standards for arsenic content in fish products, taking into account international experience and existing results of laboratory studies of fish products.

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