Project

Priority environmental contaminants in seafood: safety assessment, impact and public perception

Assess food safety issues related to priority contaminants present in seafood as a result of environmental contamination (including those originating from harmful algal blooms and those associated with marine litter) and evaluate their impact on public health, contributing to the improvement of seafood risk management and risk communication.

  • Monitor the presence of priority environmental contaminants in the environment and in seafood and prioritize those contaminants that are real hazards and present at levels relevant for human health.
  • Quantify the transfer of relevant priority environmental contaminants between the environment and seafood, taking into account the effect of climate change, as well as other biotic and abiotic parameters like origin, species and size.
  • Study the effect of processing / cooking on the behaviour of priority environmental contaminants in seafood.
  • Develop mitigation measures to be implemented by risk managers, like an online tool for different stakeholders (i.e., general public, doctors and food producers) and guidelines, and assess innovative mitigation technologies on fish and environment at pilot scale (e.g. phycoremediation).
  • Optimize methods for the detection and quantification of emerging toxins from harmful algal blooms.
  • Investigate what information is needed and how it should be disseminated, in coordination with risk managers, to the general public and to vulnerable groups of consumers in order to reduce public health risks from seafood consumption, and test the possible impact of dissemination on public opinion.
  • Develop further understanding of the public health impacts of these chemical hazards, through the toxicological characterization of the selected seafood contaminants in realistic conditions, i.e. assessing synergistic and antagonistic effects between contaminants, and analysing real seafood product samples before and after undergoing processing and culinary treatment.
  • Perform risk assessments in order to measure the potential impact of seafood contaminants on public health using in-depth probabilistic exposure tools.
  • Effectively inform, communicate and disseminate the project outputs to the key stakeholders (particularly policy makers and food producers) and the wider consumers, as well as the general safety of most seafood, in order to reduce the public health risks.
  • Develop, validate and provide new tools to make the assessment of the presence of environmental contaminants in seafood products easier and faster.

Publications