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Tropentag 2020, September 9 - 11, virtual conference, Germany

"Food and nutrition security and its resilience to global crises"

Nutritional Quality and Food Safety of Processed Small Indigenous Fish Species from Ghana

Laura Wessels1, Astrid Elise Hasselberg2, Inger Aakre1, Felix Reich2, Amy Atter3, Matilda Steiner-Asiedu4, Samuel Amponsah5,3, Marian Kjellevold1, Johannes Pucher2

1German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, Germany
2Institute of Marine Research, Norway
3Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Food Research Institute, Ghana
4University of Ghana, Ghana
5University of Energy and Natural Resources, Ghana


Malnutrition is a severe issue in low-and middle-income countries, although fish has the potential to mitigate this burden. In Ghana, fish is a central part of the diet, but data on nutritional value and food safety parameters in processed indigenous fish species are scarce. On markets in five different regions of Ghana, samples of smoked, dried or salted small fish species were collected including Engraulis encrasicolus (European anchovy), Brachydeuterus auritus (Bigeye grunt), Sardinella aurita (Round sardinella), Selene dorsalis (African moonfish), Sierrathrissa leonensis (West African (WA) pygmy herring) and Tilapia spp. (tilapia). The samples were analysed for the content of nutrients (crude protein, fat, fatty acids, several vitamins, minerals, trace elements), microbiological contamination (total colony counts, E. coli, coliforms, and Salmonella), and levels of contaminants (PAH4, heavy metals). All sampled processed fish species (except for tilapia) showed the potential to significantly contribute to the recommended nutrient intakes of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. However, high levels of iron, mercury and lead were found in certain fish samples, which necessitates further identification of the sources along the food value chains. In all samples, the total colony counts were in an acceptable range while E. coli was found only in one sample. In addition, high numbers of coliform bacteria were found in the samples which calls for improving the hygiene conditions along the value chains. Salmonella was not detected in any of the samples. PAH4 in smoked samples reached high concentrations and necessitate the improvement of smoking practices and smoking equipment. This study provides valuable data with respect to nutritional value and potential food safety hazards of small processed fish as food in Ghana. Future research should seek to identify potential sources of contamination and critical points along the value chains, and develop applicable mitigation strategies to improve the quality and safety of small processed fish in Ghana.

Keywords: Fishery products, food quality, food safety, processed fish, nutrition

Contact Address: Johannes Pucher, German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, Max-Dohrn-Straße 8–10, 10589 Berlin, Germany, e-mail: Johannes.Pucher@bfr.bund.de

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