Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #268475

Title: PCDD/Fs, PCBs, and PBDEs in catfish from U.S. Commerce

item Huwe, Janice
item ESTEBAN, EMILIO - Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
item MILLER, O - Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2011
Publication Date: 8/21/2011
Citation: Huwe, J.K., Esteban, E., Miller, O. 2011. PCDD/Fs, PCBs, and PBDEs in catfish from U.S. commerce. Dioxin 2011. 31st International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants POPs' Science in the Heart of Europe. Organohalogen Compounds. 73:465-467. Available:

Interpretive Summary: Our food supply can be one source of exposure to persistent organic pollutants. Therefore, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) periodically monitors domestic foods to determine what levels of these contaminants are present in our foods. Recently the USDA measured the concentrations of several classes of persistent organic pollutant i.e. dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, in domestically marketed catfish. The survey analyzed 202 catfish samples for these contaminants. The results showed detectable amounts of these contaminants in all the samples; however, levels were 70% lower than previously reported in a study from 2006.

Technical Abstract: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for the safety of meat, poultry, egg products, and farm-raised catfish marketed in the United States. As such the USDA conducts statistical surveys to determine chemical residue concentrations in these domestic products. Little background data are available on environmental contaminant levels in catfish sold in the United States; therefore, an exploratory assessment of catfish products for the presence of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) was undertaken. The results from the analysis of 202 catfish samples showed median values of 0.1 pg/g, 130 pg/g, and 50 pg/g for dioxin-like toxic equivalency, PCBs, and PBDEs, respectively. These levels are >70% lower than levels that have previously been reported for these contaminants in a small study conducted in 2006. One source that may still be contributing to the PCDD levels in catfish may be residual amounts of dioxin-contaminated ball clay used in the mid-1990s in fish feeds.