Norway’s Food Safety Authority has asked a special committee to assess the health risk of eating halibut after finding unexpectedly high levels of dioxins and PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) in a small sampling of the fish.

The FSA‘s monitoring programme received samples of wild halibut that contained dioxin and PCB levels above the European Union’s recommended levels (of 8 pg TEQ/g), and higher than normal levels for Norwegian fish.

Analysis by NIFES (National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research) found that smaller halibut were well under this mark and their preliminary judgement is that extremely large, older halibut may have a build-up of the toxins, accumulated by eating other fish.

NIFES is working on collecting more samples in order to have a more comprehensive body of data.

Norway’s Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) will return an expanded report by the end of March and assess whether there should be recommended limits to consumption of halibut.