By on September 24, 2013

Food and health securitykolarctic-logo-h75

Project Objective

The objective of the project is to assess industrial impact on food safety and human health in highly populated Norwegian, Finnish, and Russian border region specified in the Kolarctic ENPI CBC 2007-2013 Programme. Integration of contaminant results with monitoring of key human health endpoints can be implemented in future human risk assessments and food safety management. Assessment of results will be communicated to stakeholders within participating countries (i.e., general public, government, and industry) where both the socio-economic benefits of increased industrial activity will be weighed against potential food safety and human health risks.

Project Partners

Partners in addition to Lead Partner NILU:

  1. Akvaplan-niva AS (APN), Tromsø, Norway
  2. Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA), Tromsø, Norway
  3. Northern Research Institute (NORUT), Tromsø, Norway
  4. University of Tromsø (UiT), Tromsø, Norway
  5. Fylkesmannen i Finnmark (FiF), Vadsø, Norway
  6. Northern and environmental issues (NEI), Thule Institute, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  7. Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Helsinki, Finland
  8. Murmansk Country Birth Registry (MCBR), Murmansk, Russia
  9. Institute for Ecological Problems (INEP), Kola Science Centre, Apatity, Russia
  10. The Northwest Public Health Researcher Center (NPC), St Petersburg, Russia
  11. Background

Although small, the border regions between Norway, Finland, and Russia are very important to local communities for both food availability and economic stability. Spanning over several political jurisdictions, environmental management of this region is of the utmost importance and provides the unique opportunity for integration of research projects among the neighboring countries.
Contaminant exposures in many Arctic communities are complex with both long-range transport and local sources acting as inputs for contaminants. A number of local industrial sources are present in this area and with planned increased activity. This has raised concerns from the local population regarding food safety and potential risks to health through consumption of food from this region. Contamination of local food could also have large economical implications in terms of export since the reputation on food quality is essential for this region. Thus, there is a need to study relevant contaminants in food and investigate effects and consequences for human health with increasing economical and industrial development.
Although elevated concentrations of numerous contaminants (i.e., metals, dioxins) have been reported in various environmental media from this region, limited data exists on contaminants in important food items and their potential risk to human health.
Numerous human studies such as contaminant studies and health monitoring studies have already been completed in the three neighboring countries (specified below), but little effort has been made to coordinate this activity in order to inform the public of potential risks and enhance scientific knowledge. In relation to food and health security, little is known about the risk perception by people in this region. Therefore the proposed project will deliver the following results
Enhance knowledge on contaminants in key species (food products) used for local consumption and of commercial value (i.e., reindeer and fish).
Assess exposure trends of relevant contaminants in residents within the region from both historical and newly collected samples.
Assess social, economic and human health consequences based on contaminant levels in commercially and dietary important species.
Combining both existing and future human health studies to asses current food safety guidelines.
Inform decision makers on how assess future human health and food security risks in the region.

  • Work package 1: Human exposure assessment and identification of dietary sources of exposure across border areas
  • Work package 2: Contaminants in relevant food items – geographical differences and trend data
  • Work package 3: Health effects of contamination in the region – status and future predictions
  • Work package 4: The socioeconomic consequences of contamination and food safety in the region
  • Work package 5: Public awareness and informed policy decisions – addressing human security

Figure 1