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Evaluating Contaminants in Fish: Plastic Additives and Pesticides in the Context of Food Safety
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1  REQUIMTE/LAQV, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto, Instituto Politécnico do Porto, Rua Dr. António Bernardino de Almeida, 431, 4249-015 Porto, Portugal
Academic Editor: Efstathios Giaouris


According to the World Health Organization, foodborne illnesses have resulted in millions of cases worldwide and the consumption of unsafe food is responsible for the loss of approximately 33 million healthy years of life, likely underestimated.

Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in global recognition regarding the significance of food safety. It has become increasingly apparent that various hazards, encompassing biological, chemical, and environmental factors, can infiltrate our food supply, including those originating from the marine environment.

Many emerging contaminants including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, pesticides, plastic-additives, and microplastics, have been present in the environment for years, yet some have only recently been identified, and many of these compounds remain unregulated. Analytical methods have been developed to determine the concentrations, toxicity, and risk of different families of contaminants.

The work to be presented will focus on analytical methods for the assessment of plastic additives and pesticides in fish bought in local supermarkets from the Oporto area (species: Scomber scombrus, Trachurus trachurus, Scomber colias) captured from northeast of the Atlantic Ocean. The QuEChERS extraction methodology and Gas Chromatography were explored and used in a monitoring study of fish samples. The method underwent thorough optimization and validation, demonstrating good performance for Organophosphate Pesticides and Organophosphate Ester Flame Retardants. In the final analysis, traces of certain Organophosphate Ester compounds were detected in the Scomber colias species.

The objective of this endeavor was to carry out targeted research aimed at developing analytical methods that facilitate the evaluation of sustainability, safety, and the overall health of fish. By doing so, the goal is to ensure the production of safe and healthy seafood, thereby promoting food and nutrition security for all, in alignment with the principles of the blue economy and sustainable fisheries.


This work has been developed within the scope " Blue Bioeconomy Innovation Pact " (Project No. C644915664-00000026) funded by NextGenerationEU, under the "Agendas for Business Innovation" incentive line of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR). This work was supported by projects REQUIMTE/LAQV—UIDB/50006/2020, UIDP/50006/2020, and financed by FCT/Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior (MCTES) through national funds.

Keywords: Fish; contaminants; food safety