EFFOP statement on PFAS in fishmeal
Fishmeal is recognized by nutritionists as a high-quality and very digestible feed ingredient that is favored for addition to the diets of most farm animals.
Fishmeal carries large quantities of energy per unit weight and is an excellent source of protein, lipids (oils), minerals, and vitamins. Specifically, the high levels of lysine and methionine can be difficult to replace when using other feed ingredients.
At the European fishmeal and fish oil producers (EFFOP) PFAS workshop March 22nd 2023, the nutritional, welfare and environmental challenges associated with replacing fishmeal in the Danish egg industry were highlighted. Marine Ingredients Denmark (MID) understands the decision that has led to the removal of fishmeal for organic egg producers in Denmark, due to a desire to have a feed ingredient that that is “100% PFAS free”. Following the DTU study on organic eggs, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has also examined fish from marine environment and fish farms during this period. 100% of the samples showed either no PFAS or levels far below the limit value, according to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. “The new samples show that there is no risk of getting unwanted PFAS in fish from marine and fish farms, despite the fact that the farmed fish actually receive significant levels of fishmeal as part of their feed” according to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. This suggests that the ongoing question of high PFAS carry over from fishmeal may be a specific issue to eggs. But more research is needed.
Since the DTU press release, EFFOP has been working to map areas of risk and how fishmeal from these areas falls into current EU regulations. No current levels are advised for feed ingredients, this paucity of information has created challenges, however EFFOP will coordinate and share all its data with EFSA to assist the decision makers. What can be seen from the data so far, is that PFAS levels in European fishmeal is very context specific and likely driven by species-specifics, production methods and spatial and temporal variations. PFAS levels have become an additional quality parameter routinely performed for each fishmeal batch by the producers and this will be available on request by the customer.
MID and EFFOP would be happy to collaborate for future PFAS monitoring and toxicokinetics with fishmeal.