Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lab Analysis Confirms North Pacific Salmon are Safe

Laboratory analysis of five salmon species harvested in Puget Sound and Southeast Alaska in 2013 confirms there are no indications of elevated radiation levels, says Pete Knutson, a fisherman and co-owner of Loki Fish Co., in Seattle.

The company released in January results of tests conducted by Eurofins Analytical Laboratories in Metaire, LA, in order to assure customers that salmon harvested in the waters of the North Pacific are safe to eat.

“As fishing families who put salmon on the table of consumers, we are as concerned as anyone about the health of our marine ecology,” Knutson said.

“We have long been active in environmental issues which affect salmon stocks and believe that environmental defense needs to be driven by science, not fear.”

Knutson contracted with the internationally accredited Louisiana laboratory in response to customer concerns over radiation releases into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after a major earthquake generated tsunami struck the power plant on March 11, 2011.

Loki harvests and direct markets wild salmon through King county Farmers’ Markets and through national wholesale distribution.

Tests were conducted on pink, keta, coho, sockeye and king salon from Southeast Alaska and pink and keta salmon from Puget Sound.

Although the US Food and Drug Administration contends that there is no evidence that radionuclides from Fukushima are present in Alaskan and Pacific Northwest seafood at a level that would be harmful to human health, it has not published results. Unsubstantiated Internet rumors regarding the safety of North Pacific seafood have become widespread, prompting Loki Fish Co. to confirm that this fish is safe to eat.

All seven stocks of salmon were tested for the radionuclides associated with the nuclear plant failures in Japan: Cesium 134, Cesium 137 and Iodine 131. Two of the samples registered at trace levels- Alaskan Keta at 1.4Bq/kg for Cesium 137, and Alaska Pink at 1.2Bq/kg for Cesium 134. There were no detectable levels of iodine -131 in any samples, officials for Loki said.

“To put those numbers in perspective, the critical limit set by the FDA for either Cesium-134 or Cesium -137 is 370 Bq/kg, far above the amount found in Loki’s Alaskan Keta and pink salmon, the company said.

Bq/kg stands for Becquerel per kilogram, with Bq/kg being a standard scientific measure. It is “the number of particles decaying per second in each kilogram of a sample,” according to the University of California at Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering.

Radionuclides are present in may foods eaten every day, with bananas, for example, commonly testing at levels around 130 Bq/kg for potassium-40.

Copies of the Eurofin sampling results are available by inquiring at

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