Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, consumers are entitled to know what they are eating, and I fully support that as a public health imperative. However, in order to make properly informed choices, it is essential that scientific information be accurate, up-to-date and verifiable. In recent times, looking from Scotland, it is perfectly possible to believe that certain campaigners are making it their business to talk down specifically the Scottish salmon-farming industry and talk up specifically, as has been suggested, wild salmon from certain other areas. Just publishing an article in a magazine entitled Science does not automatically verify the accuracy of its contents. It is clear, as the Commissioner acknowledged, that there is no new evidence in the particular study published in Science. It is also clear that the levels of various contaminants were within standards set by the European Commission and the UK and Scottish Food Standards Agencies, which are not bodies that are easy to satisfy in that regard. The research totally failed to mention the positive health benefits that can be gained from eating fatty fish such as salmon. Organisations such as Scottish Quality Salmon, which has very high standards, should be encouraged. They require of their members constant improvement in such things as feed quality. It is inexplicable to me to suggest that Scottish and Irish salmon, but not other farmed salmon fed on exactly the same feed, somehow did not come out of this study as measuring up to the same standards. The measured approach adopted by the Commissioner is right, and I hope that, as others have said, there will be support for measures to protect this industry, which in Scotland is essential for employment and social cohesion in very fragile areas.

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