Knowledge update on macroalgae food and feed safety - based on data generated in the period 2014-2019 by the Institute of Marine Research, Norway
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It has previously been addressed that some species of macroalgae may contain elevated levels of iodine, cadmium and inorganic arsenic. With the increased amount of data in the present report it is now possible to discriminate between individual species that have high levels of these components and others that are within the normal range. Among the updates are also new data on microbiology and iodine reduction that may contribute to a better understanding of this food group that is new to most Europeans. This report follows up a previous report from 2016 pointing out knowledge-gaps in the area of food and feed safety regarding macroalgae. The levels of iodine, cadmium and inorganic arsenic were pointed out as the main challenges for macroalgae as food. Since 2016 a substantial number of samples of Norwegian macroalgae have been analysed, with data from 27 species and 14 of these with five or more samples. The report is based on about 400 analyses of cadmium, mercury, lead and iodine and 332 analyses of inorganic arsenic. This allows for a more detailed evaluation of many individual species compared to the previous report. The present report answers to a request from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority for updates on filling of the knowledge gaps from the previous report.