This project proposes to to collect samples from fishmeal from different points in the production process and supply chain across the world, and analyse them for microplastic types and levels; investigation will then be conducted into how much of any microplastic contamination is transferred from the diet of a fish into its meat.
Microplastics are those small plastic fragments <5mm in diameter that contaminate many aspects of our food-chain. The impact of microplastic uptake on human and animal health is still being debated, however microplastic contamination of fishmeal is gaining attention as an issue of potential feed safety and fish quality in the aquaculture sector.
Recent studies have identified the level of microplastic contamination across different fishmeal producer regions and reviewed different methodologies used to measure microplastics. While levels were considered relatively low, what was not clear from that work is where these microplastics enter the supply chain and whether they can be transferred from fishmeal into seafood. It is suspected that most of the microplastics are of terrestrial origin.
Therefore, the first part of this project proposes to work with different fishmeal producers across the world (including the UK) to collect samples from different points in the production process and supply chain and analyse them for microplastic types and levels. The second part of this project proposes to evaluate how much of any microplastic contamination is transferred from the diet of a fish into its meat. Both parts of the project are considered preliminary/feasibility setting in terms of scoping the magnitude of the problem and potential impact.
IFFO - The Marine Ingredients Organisation