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Food Safety Focus (143rd Issue, June 2018) – Food Incident Highlight

The Impact of Microplastics on Food Safety

Recently, a local university reported that 60% of wild flathead grey mullet contained microplastics.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, microplastics usually refer to plastic items less than 5 mm in their longest dimension. This definition includes also nanoplastics (less than 100 nanometres). In 2017, FAO commented that the overall human health risks posed by microplastics in seafood at present appear to be low. At the same time, it is important to consider the  unavoidable increase of micro- and nanoplastics in the future as a result of degradation of plastics already released in the environment as well as future inputs.
FAO considered that there were knowledge gaps on the occurrence in aquatic environments and organisms of the smaller sized microplastics (less than150 µm), their possible effects on seafood safety, as well as relevant analytical methods. More researches on the subject were needed. The Centre for Food Safety will keep in view the international development.