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Interlaboratory Bias in the Determination of Mercury Concentrations in Commercially Available Fish Utilizing Thermal Decomposition/Amalgamation Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry

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Four commercially available fish fillets were freeze-dried, homogenized, and analyzed for mercury by the Texas A&M Trace Element Research Laboratory and the Utah Public Health Laboratory (UPHL) utilizing thermal decomposition/amalgamation atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Two-way analysis of variance detected bias in the data between the two laboratories. Some of the bias could be attributed to different calibration curve quantitation and near detection limit quantitation, albeit causal explanations could be confounded with other effects. Knowledge of analytical bias will aid interpretation of interlaboratory data. The swordfish mercury content, as determined by both laboratories, was about 1 ppm, while mercury content found in the Atlantic salmon was about 0.021 ppm. For the Alaskan halibut, the Texas A&M measured a mercury concentration of 0.155 ppm, while the UPHL measured a mercury concentration of 0.181 ppm for the same fish. The Texas A&M determined that the Canadian-raised salmon contained about 0.019 ppm of mercury, while the UPHL determined a mercury content of about 0.025 ppm for the same fish. The mercury found within the fish fillets did not exceed nationwide mercury mean values determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Utah Department of Health, Division of Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, 46 North Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84113-1105, Tel: 801-584-8567, Fax: 801-584-8251, Email: sbutala@utah.gov 2: Utah Department of Health, Division of Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, 46 North Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84113-1105 3: Trace Element Research Laboratory, Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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