Heavy metal

Published: Sunday 15 January 2006

Fishy business Russia recently imposed a ban on salmon imports from Norway from January 1, 2006. Moscow cited dangerously high levels of lead and cadmium in the fish and inadequate Norwegian monitoring system, as reasons for the ban. Government vets found lead 18 times above safety levels and cadmium 3.5 higher in Norwegian salmons.

Russia had imposed a temporary ban on four Norwegian farms earlier this month due to similar reasons. It felt such high levels affected not only the nutritional value of food products but could turn the fish into poison.

Norway disputed the claim but was unable to dissuade Russian officials in a recent meeting to discuss the repeal of the temporary ban. They claimed their fish were constantly being monitored for the presence of heavy metals and also tested to meet stringent European Union standards. They have invited Russian officials to inspect the farms.

Norway has reason to be worried as salmon is it's third largest export item. Besides, Russia is one of its biggest salmon markets.

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