A case study on the development of representative sampling procedure to determine mercury levels in a lot of tuna caught by static trap

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Pierluigi Piras *
Antonio Assaretti
Gianuario Fiori
Andrea Sanna
Giannina Chessa
(*) Corresponding Author:
Pierluigi Piras | pirasp@tiscali.it

Abstract

Mercury contamination in fish products, and in large pelagic predatory fish in particular, is a remarkable food safety issue that affects fish industry. A lot made up by Bluefin tunas caught at Porto Paglia − in the south-western coast of Sardinia − was subject to several sessions of fish meat official sampling, as disputable results of mercury level determination suggested a potential non-compliance to maximum allowable limit. Local competent Veterinary Service reviewed the sampling procedure introducing more rigorous details including the identification of a specific muscular portion as sampling site, after having taken into account both statutory provisions laid down by Regulation (EC) No 333/2007 and available scientific evidence on variables affecting uneven distribution of mercury across tuna carcasses. This case-study aims to provide an initial contribution in order to ensure an appropriate and representative field sampling protocol of tuna lots that are to be analysed for mercury content.

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