Oral Presentation Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Australasia 2021

Microplastic contamination in seafood: A critical review using Australian consumption patterns as a case study (#70)

Amanda Dawson 1 , Marina Santana 1 , Michaela Miller 1 , Frederieke Kroon 1
  1. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville MC, QLD, Australia

Seafood contamination with, and human consumption of, microplastics (MPs) have recently been
highlighted as an emerging concern for global food security. While there is evidence that commercial
marine species are contaminated with MPs, it is still unknown if seafood can act as a vector for MP
transfer to human consumers. Microplastics have been reported in the digestive tract, gills and in select
internal organs of marine animals. However, many of these tissues are not typically eaten by human
consumers but discarded. In this critical review, we examined the peer-reviewed literature for evidence
of MP contamination in seafood, and the potential transfer to human consumers. Based on known
seafood consumption patterns in a typical Australian diet, we assessed the relevance and reliability of the
current body of literature to examine the prospect and risk of MP transfer. The relevance of data was
considered based on the organism studied, origin of the samples, and the tissues analysed, while reliability
was assessed based on procedural methodologies used to derive the data. A review of 132 studies
found limited evidence of MP contamination in edible tissues from fresh fish or crustaceans. MP presence
was confirmed in packaged fish, as well as in fresh and packaged bivalve molluscs. The limited number of
studies satisfying the relevance and reliability criteria (n = 24) precluded a quantitative assessment of
the potential risk associated with MP transfer. While consumption of packaged fish and bivalve molluscs
may result in the consumption of MPs by humans, it is currently unknown whether this presents a health