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The cold chain and the COVID-19 pandemic: an unusual increase in histamine content in fish samples collected in Southern Italy during lockdown

The cold chain and the COVID-19 pandemic: an unusual increase in histamine content in fish... ObjectivesWe analysed 900 samples of fresh (250) and processed (650) fish products collected in Sicily (Southern Italy) in 2020 during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic (hereafter: COVID-19). Materials and methodsThe samples were divided temporally based on four phases relating to the various restrictions imposed by the Italian government in this period. The validated method of ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography combined with a diode array detector was then employed for the analysis. ResultsThe samples collected during the Phase I lockdown period and after it had ended (Phase II) revealed significant increases in the mean histamine levels: (41.89±87.58) mg/kg and (24.91±76.76) mg/kg, respectively. The 11 (1.3% of the total) fresh fish samples that were identified as being non-compliant with Regulation (EC) No.2073/2005 were only found during these two periods. All the processed samples were always compliant. The histamine values decreased as the restrictions eased, achieving a mean value of (11.16±9.3) mg/kg (Phase III). ConclusionsThere was an increase in the incidence of fish samples that were non-compliant with Regulation (EC) No.2073/2005 compared to previous surveillance data. These results provide a first report on the effect of lockdown measures on food safety and the cold chain. Our findings must cause food safety operators to intensify their controls over fresh fish products in such periods to safeguard consumer health. Further studies are required to evaluate whether the same trend would be observed with other food contaminants. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Food Quality and Safety Oxford University Press

The cold chain and the COVID-19 pandemic: an unusual increase in histamine content in fish samples collected in Southern Italy during lockdown

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Zhejiang University Press.
ISSN
2399-1399
eISSN
2399-1402
DOI
10.1093/fqsafe/fyab031
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ObjectivesWe analysed 900 samples of fresh (250) and processed (650) fish products collected in Sicily (Southern Italy) in 2020 during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic (hereafter: COVID-19). Materials and methodsThe samples were divided temporally based on four phases relating to the various restrictions imposed by the Italian government in this period. The validated method of ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography combined with a diode array detector was then employed for the analysis. ResultsThe samples collected during the Phase I lockdown period and after it had ended (Phase II) revealed significant increases in the mean histamine levels: (41.89±87.58) mg/kg and (24.91±76.76) mg/kg, respectively. The 11 (1.3% of the total) fresh fish samples that were identified as being non-compliant with Regulation (EC) No.2073/2005 were only found during these two periods. All the processed samples were always compliant. The histamine values decreased as the restrictions eased, achieving a mean value of (11.16±9.3) mg/kg (Phase III). ConclusionsThere was an increase in the incidence of fish samples that were non-compliant with Regulation (EC) No.2073/2005 compared to previous surveillance data. These results provide a first report on the effect of lockdown measures on food safety and the cold chain. Our findings must cause food safety operators to intensify their controls over fresh fish products in such periods to safeguard consumer health. Further studies are required to evaluate whether the same trend would be observed with other food contaminants.

Journal

Food Quality and SafetyOxford University Press

Published: Jan 12, 2022

Keywords: Histamine; cold-chain; food safety; COVID-19

References