Effects of industrial processing on essential elements and regulated and emerging contaminant levels in seafood

Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Jun;104:85-94. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.02.008. Epub 2017 Feb 9.


Mitigation of contaminants in industrial processing was studied for prawns (cooked and peeled), Greenland halibut (cold smoked) and Atlantic salmon (cold smoked and trimmed). Raw prawns had significantly higher cadmium, chromium, iron, selenium and zinc content in autumn than in spring, while summer levels typically were intermediate. Peeling raw prawns increased mercury concentration but reduced the concentration of all other elements including inorganic arsenic, total arsenic, chromium, zinc, selenium but especially cadmium, copper and iron (p < 0.05), however interaction between seasons and processing was observed. Non-toxic organic arsenic in raw Greenland halibut (N = 10) and salmon (N = 4) did not transform to carcinogenic inorganic arsenic during industrial cold smoking. Hence inorganic arsenic was low (<0.003 mg/kg wet weight) in both raw and smoked fillets rich in organic arsenic (up to 9.0 mg/kg for farmed salmon and 0.7 mg/kg for wild caught Greenland halibut per wet weight). Processing salmon did not significantly change any levels (calculated both per wet weight, dry weight or lipid content). Cold smoking decreased total arsenic (17%) and increased PCB congeners (10-22%) in Greenland halibut (wet weight). However PFOS, PCB and PBDE congeners were not different in processed Greenland halibut when corrected for water loss or lipid content.

Keywords: Cold smoking; Cooking; Halogenated organic contaminants; Peeling; Season; Toxic elements.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arsenic / analysis
  • Cadmium / analysis
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Mercury / analysis
  • Seafood / analysis*
  • Selenium / analysis
  • Zinc / analysis


  • Cadmium
  • Mercury
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Arsenic