Cadmium in brown crab Cancer pagurus. Effects of location, season, cooking and multiple physiological factors and consequences for food safety
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionScience of the Total Environment. 2020, 703, 134922. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134922
Brown crab Cancer pagurus is appreciated as seafood in several European countries. However, cadmium levels in crabs can be elevated and their consumption may pose a hazard for human health. To assess if cadmium poses a threat to food safety in Norway, crabs were sampled at two different locations along the Norwegian coast: one in the South of Norway and one in the North of Norway. Cadmium levels were determined in different tissues (claw meat, hepatopancreas and inner meat). To highlight specific risk factors for cadmium, the concentration of cadmium was related to different exogenous (location, cooking and season) and physiological (size, sex, moulting stage, gonad maturation stage, condition) factors. The results confirmed previous findings of much higher cadmium levels in brown crab sampled in the North of Norway compared to the South. Cooking of crabs further led to higher concentrations in claw meat. The effect of season on cadmium levels was different in the North and South and no clear patterns could be identified, probably due to a high inter-individual variation in cadmium levels. Size showed a correlation with the total amount of cadmium for crabs in the North indicating an accumulation of cadmium over time; together with a slower growth, this may lead to the higher cadmium levels, observed in the crabs from Northern Norway. The risk connected to cadmium exposure when consuming brown crab mainly depends on the consumption pattern, the parts of the crab consumed and the origin of the crab. Regardless of origin, the consumption of claw meat does not display a consumer health risk. However, the consumption of meals consisting of inner meat only and inner meat of brown crab from Northern Norway may pose a health risk.