Annual report for 2022: No illegal substances found in Norwegian farmed fish


Every year, the Institute of Marine Research checks Norwegian farmed fish for illegal pharmaceuticals, legally used veterinary drugs and environmental toxins, on behalf of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The monitoring programme is regulated by the EEA Agreement, and is part of the EU’s monitoring programme on animal foods. According to EU legislation, all food producing animals should be monitored for certain substances and residues thereof. In 2022, 3008 samples were analysed, comprising a total of 15,040 farmed fish.  Samples examined for illegal compounds are  collected at all stages of farming and are representative of farmed fish under production.

The newest report summarises the monitoring data collected in 2022 on the status of illegal substances, pharmaceuticals and contaminants in Norwegian farmed fish. One-third of the samples were analysed for substances with anabolic effects or unauthorized substances. These samples were taken from fish farms and of all life stages of the fish. No residues of illegal compounds were detected. The rest of the samples were taken at a slaughterhouse and analysed for traces of undesirable substances. Here, residue concentrations for all samples were below the respective Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs). Other veterinary drugs, like antibiotics or drugs used against internal parasites were also not found. Lastly, no environmental contaminants were found above the EU maximum level.

As in previous years, the monitoring data for 2022 showed that the levels in farmed fish do not exceed the limit values of pollutants. On 1 Januar this year, limit values for PFAS in fish products were also introduced, however, no measurable levels of PFAS were found in the samples analyzed. All in all, the case of the farmed fish in Norway shows that farmed fish are within healthy ranges when it comes to the status of illegal substances, pharmaceuticals and contaminants. EFFOP welcomes the annual monitoring programme by the Norwegian authorities to ensure reliable data on scientific terms. To reduce the carbon footprint from farmed fish, EFFOP advocates for the substition of plant-based feed ingredients in fish feed with marine ingredients such as fishmeal and fish oil, as a 2017 SINTEF report finds.

Read the 2022 report by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research here.