Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (492)

John Bruton

Question:

608 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the published results of research conducted by a US university into European farmed salmon indicating that the long-term effects on the health of consumers exposed to the dioxins, PCBs and other contaminants polluting farmed salmon and possibly other farmed seafood as well; if his Department has an independent monitoring body to evaluate farmed seafood; the steps he intends to take to ensure Irish farmed salmon is farmed in such a way as to ensure that standards of quality are maintained in order that the salmon can be sold for human consumption; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1919/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

Specific responsibility for food safety, including concerns in relation to the presence of PCBs and dioxins in food, is a matter for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

The Marine Institute, acting in tandem with the Food Safety Authority, carries out a programme of consumer protection monitoring across the full range of seafood, including salmon, farmed in Ireland. We will ensure that this monitoring is continued to maintain the high standards of quality in Irish salmon which is placed on the market for human consumption. In this regard, the Food Safety Authority has recently confirmed that farmed salmon fully complies with the accepted consumer safety standards set by the World Health Organisation, WHO, the European Union, EU, and the United States Food and Drugs Administration, FDA. In addition the FSAI has also recently maintained its recommendation that consumers continue to eat farmed salmon as part of a balanced diet, given the overall beneficial effects of consuming oily fish.