Contaminants: recommendation on the monitoring of mercury in fish, crustaceans and molluscs


The Commission published a recommendation (EU) 2022/1342 on the monitoring of mercury in fish, crustaceans and molluscs. Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 sets maximum levels for mercury in muscle meat of fish, crustaceans, bivalve molluscs and food supplements. As recent occurrence data showed that there was a margin to lower the maximum levels for mercury in various fish species, the maximum levels for those fish species have been lowered by means of Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/617. For other fish species such as shark and swordfish, despite some calls to increase the existing maximum levels, Regulation (EU) 2022/617 has maintained them in view of the related health concerns, pending further data collection and scientific assessment.

The Commission therefore recommends:

1. Member States should perform during the years 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025 monitoring on the presence of methylmercury and total mercury in fish, crustaceans and molluscs. The monitoring should include a wide variety of fish-, crustacean- and mollusc species and should reflect consumption habits, in order to enable an accurate estimation of the consumer exposure to mercury. Data should be gathered for both farmed and wild caught products.

2. Member States should develop specific national consumption advice related to the consumption of fish, crustaceans and molluscs to fully achieve the beneficial effects of fish and seafood consumption, whilst limiting the risks of mercury toxicity. When developing this consumption advice, Member States should especially advise on the frequency of the consumption of fish, crustaceans and molluscs and the species consumed.

3. Member States, food business operators and other interested parties should communicate on a continuous basis the specific national consumption advice to the consumer as well as to relevant health care workers, working with the consumer groups most at risk.

4. Member States should inform the Commission and the Authority of their specific national consumption advice.

5. Member States should inform the Commission of their actions to communicate the national consumption advice to consumers and relevant health care workers.

6. Member States and food business operators should report on a regular basis to the Authority on the occurrence of total mercury and methylmercury in various fish, crustacean and mollusc species, with the information and in the electronic reporting format as set out by the Authority. When reporting the data, they should pay particular attention to specify the production type (wild, gathered or hunted versus farmed non-organic production or farmed organic production).

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