Cadmium is a contaminant that can be found in some species of seafood. Cadmium levels are controlled by legislation in the EU.

The following maximum permitted levels apply.

Seafood Maximum permitted level (mg/kg wet weight)

Muscle meat of:

mackerel (Scomber species)
tuna (Thunnus species, Katsuwonus pelamis, Euthynnus species)
bichique (Sicyopterus lagocephalus)


Muscle meat of:

bullet tuna (Auxis species)


Muscle meat of:

anchovy (Engraulis species)
swordfish (Xiplhas gladius)
sardine (Sardina pilchardus)


Muscle meat of fish species not mentioned above


Crustaceans: muscle meat from appendages and abodomen. In the case of crab and crab-like crustaceans (Brachyura and Anomura), this applies to muscle meat from appendages.


Bivalve molluscs


Cephalopods (without viscera)


Food supplements consisting exclusively or mainly of dried seaweed, products derived from seaweed, or of dried bivalve molluscs


For more details, see the relevant legislation: 1881/2006.

The Commission expects to re-assess the cadmium levels in 5 years' time.

Brown meat of crab

Brown crab meat often contains higher levels of cadmium than white meat. The EU has produced an information note on cadmium levels in brown crab meat, which can be read here. The note recommends that member states issue advice relevant to their specific consumer habits.

UK advice is available from the NHS Choices website and states: "Although it is recommended that regular fish-eaters should avoid eating brown crab meat [i.e. the brown meat of crab]  too often, there is no need to limit the amount of white crab meat that you eat."

In order to ensure that consumption advice is representative and proportionate, the FSA has carried out a survey of the levels of cadmium in brown crab meat on sale in the UK.