Natural Foods Merchandiser

Scientists Develop Fish-Quality Testing Method

Five bottles containing frozen, homogenized trout from Lake Superior could send ripples of scientific validity through the fish processing industry.

With more than 40 labs participating, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have tested the trout samples to certify the levels of nearly 100 substances, including PCBs, methylmercury and omega-3 fatty acids, and to develop a standard reference material for these substances in all fish.

PCBs can cause damage to the skin, liver and other organs. Pregnant women and children have been advised to limit their intake of fish with high concentrations of mercury. Omega-3s, on the other hand, have been widely promoted for numerous health benefits.

The development of this standard reference material will allow food laboratories to validate their fish-testing methods by comparing their results against the reference. NIST scientists believe having a reference point will help the food industry comply with nutritional labeling requirements.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 9/p. 10

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