The French press has concluded Norwegian farmed salmon is not safe for consumption.
TV coverage of the topic “Risks on a Plate” on last Monday night’s “Exhibits” programme on France 3 revealed that most fish meat on the French market does not meet toxicity safety standards.
According to GoodPlanet.info, fish meat becomes potentially toxic because of the pesticides used to combat sea lice, parasites that affect both fish and the environment.
Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fishing, who was one of the guests of the show along Dr. Patrice Halimi, Secretary General of the Association for Health and Environment France, declared he was “shocked” by the findings.
He was “revolted” by the fact that fish are given pesticides to eat, especially since “no one knows what damage they can cause to human health,” reports RTLinfo.
Norwegian fish, along with Korean and the Vietnamese, amounts to 70% of French-imported fish for consumption.
French authorities say they’ve already contacted the Norwegians to discuss the matter of pesticide-fed salmon.
“We are waiting for their response. What happened in Norway cannot come to France,” Bertrand Sirven, the ministry’s advisor told the newspaper 20 Minutes.
According to France 3, three journalists volunteered to participate in an experiment devised by Dr. Halimi to test the safety of Norwegian salmon.
The journalists followed an individually-calculated diet of daily food for a few weeks, and reached their conclusions after having been constantly tested at an independent laboratory.
An anonymous salmon farmer has told France 3 how much of the toxic substance he’s given his fish, confirming it kills more than just the sea lice. He says he wouldn’t have eaten it himself.
Johan Kvalheim, the Norwegian Seafood Export Council’s (Eksportutvalget for fisk), confirms he’s seen the programme, and was appalled.
“I would love to have talked to any Norwegian breeder that’s done this,” he tells NRK.
Meanwhile, the harmful environmental effects of fish farming have already had repercussions. According to the Norwegian paper Nationen, the US chain of shopping centres, Target, has already pulled out of buying Norwegian salmon, and ICA is considering the same.
And a group calling themselves the “Pure Salmon Campaign”, protested against several Norwegian-owned salmon farming facilities off the west coast of Canada under the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, who became a millionaire from fish farming herself, confirms she’s now been in touch with French authorities. The French programme’s allegations have left a bad taste in her mouth.
“Neither banned, nor unauthorised amounts of permitted substances have been found in Norwegian farmed salmon,” she says, confirming she eats farmed salmon herself.
Berg-Hansen does admit, however, that salmon farmers do give their fish the type of pesticides mentioned in the French programme, but only when there’s no other choice.
“Some fish breeders have used this substance by adding it to their food, but these are harmless to farmed salmon. What has been alarming is that the substances may have affected other species in the salmon’s environment.”