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

Piras, Pierluigi, Assaretti, Antonio, Fiori, Gianuario, Sanna, Andrea, Chessa, Giannina
Italian journal of food safety 2019 v.8 no.4 pp. 8165
case studies, coasts, fish industry, fish meat, food safety, mercury, predatory fish, representative sampling, tuna, veterinary services, Sardinia
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.