The first results of the HappyFish project

Hungarian fishes: safe and healthy

The residues of less than 10% of the more than five hundred pesticides and drug residues investigated in Hungarian fish ponds could be detected.

As a result of the joint effort of the head of the consortium, the independent testing laboratory WESSLING Hungary Kft., the Institute of Aquaculture and Environmental Safety (Gödöllő) and the Department of Refrigeration and Livestocks’ Products Technology (Budapest) of the Faculty of Food Science of Szent István University, The Fishmarket Kft. and SKC Consulting Kft., important, previously missing facts are reported already at the half-way point of the project.

Fish ponds:

-        12 pesticides, 3 pesticide metabolites and 4 drug residues have been detected in the water of six Hungarian ponds, the pesticide glyphosate and its degradation product (AMPA) has been detected in the sediments, however, in almost all cases, the concentrations of the compounds were close to the very low detection limits.

-        Of the drugs, more than 100 compound were investigated in the waters and sediments, of which a total of four were found in the waters. No drug residues could be detected in the sediments.

Fish samples:

-        In the case of fish, 420 pesticides were analyzed by the researchers, of which 21 could be detected. Of these, 11 were insecticides, 7 were fungicides, 1 was a herbicide and 2 were metabolites. Of the 139 drug residues, only one, the antibiotic neomycin, was present in a quantity that allowed its detection.

-        The individual concentrations of the pesticides were typically around the detection limit, i.e., 0.01-0.05 mg/kg.

-        Most often metabolites of the notorious DDT (DDE and DDD) could be detected, these were present in the fish samples of each pond, but the values were less than one tenth of the concentrations found in other animal products or the limit values no longer in effect.

-        There were only isolated cases of other pesticide or drug residues appearing in fish meat, and the values were not significant, compared to the limit values of other animal products. It is an important finding that glyphosate, often detectable in waters, was not once found in fish meat.

What is the objective of the HappyFish project?

In view of the results of the project called “Development of a new risk management model system in order to increase water and food safety in the fish product line” (in short, HappyFish) those limit values may arise that are currently still lacking for most pesticide and drug residues.

The main objective of the project supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office is to understand and define the criteria for quality fish meat and to propose limit values for further legal regulation. The latter are unfortunately incomplete in the case of fish products.