The numerous health benefits provided by fish consumption may be compromised by the presence of toxic metals and metalloids such as lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury, which can have harmful effects on the human body if consumed in toxic quantities. The monitoring of metal concentrations in fish meat is therefore important to ensure compliance with food safety regulations and consequent consumer protection. The toxicity of these metals may be dependent on their chemical forms, which requires metal speciation processes for direct measurement of toxic metal species or the identification of prediction models in order to determine toxic metal forms from measured total metal concentrations. This review addresses various shortcomings in current knowledge and research on the accumulation of metal contaminants in commercially consumed marine fish globally and particularly in South Africa, affecting both the fishing industry as well as fish consumers.
Keywords: PTWI; consumer health; fish muscle; heavy metals; maximum allowable limits; metal speciation.
© 2015 Society of Chemical Industry.