Over the past decades, nutritional epidemiological research has identified a number of food groups, that are recommended on the basis of their potential preventive effect on chronic degenerative diseases. One of the food groups with a high ranking in this context is seafood. The terms seafood, marine foods or fish, used in this report, describe collectively fish and other aquatic animals such as crustaceans and molluscs. Seafood represents a unique dietary source of long chain omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA). Moreover, seafood products also contain a number of other valuable nutrients (e.g. high quality amino acids and micronutrients like vitamin D, iron, iodine, selenium and zinc). On the basis of this, it is generally accepted today that seafood is an important element in a healthy and balanced omnivorous human diet. There is also considerable consensus that the intake of n-3 PUFA should be increased in the Western diet. The favourable health perception of marine foods is however troubled by less favourable information regarding the potential adverse health impact of chemical contamination of marine foods. Persistent organochlorine compounds, e.g. PCBs, dioxin-like substances, organochlorine pesticides (DDT/DDE) and heavy metals, e.g. mercury and lead, accumulate in the marine food chain. This overall dichotomous picture of marine foods and their health effects forms the basis of a potential model of conflict between dietary recommendations, toxicological safety assurance and risk-benefit communication. Obviously, a substantial increase in seafood consumption in order to achieve the recommended daily intakes for LC n-3 PUFA would at the same time increase the total intake and internal dose of persistent organic chemicals and heavy metals. In an attempt to understand in more detail the significance of such a combined exposure taking into account the current state-of-the-art in both the nutritional and the toxicological dimension of the problem ñ a quantitative intake assessment of selected nutrients (two LC n-3 PUFA (EPA and DHA), vitamin D, and iodine) and contaminants ((methyl) mercury, PCBs, and dioxins) via seafood for the Belgian population is executed in this project. Another axe of the project investigated consumer perception of fish and fish related items as well as benefit-risk communication and sustainability issues.
created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:vliz