Metal concentrations in selected brands of canned fish in Nigeria: estimation of dietary intakes and target hazard quotients

  • Chukwujindu M. A. Iwegbue


The concentrations of metals (Cd, Pb, Ni, Cr, Cu, Co, Fe, Mn, and Zn) were determined in selected brands of canned mackerel, sardine, and tuna in Nigeria with a view to providing information on the dietary intakes of metals and lifelong health hazards associated with the consumption of these products. The concentrations of metals were determined by using atomic absorption spectrometry after acid digestion. The mean concentrations of metals in canned mackerel, sardine, and tuna were found as 0.04–0.58, 0.06–0.44, 0.32–0.83 μg/g for Cd; 0.05–2.82, 0.70–2.98, 0.23–2.56 μg/g for Pb, 1.33–11.33, <0.20–17.53, nd–34.2 μg/g for Ni, 0.49–3.79, 0.22–1.89, 0.66–14.39 μg/g for Cr, 0.33–0.92, 0.03–1.51, <0.08–1.31 μg/g for Cu, 0.11–2.17, nd–0.75, 0.14–0.50 μg/g for Co, 6.45–26.90, 6.06–53.54, 3.06–95.78 μg/g for Fe, 2.30–3.84, 0.95–21.78, 1.65–2.33 μg/g for Mn, 1.15–7.19, 3.60–17.88, 1.21–5.35 μg/g for Zn, respectively. The mean concentrations of Cd, Pb, and Fe in some of these brands of canned fish were above their permissible limits while other metals occurred at levels below their permissible limits. The estimated daily intakes of metals from consumption of 20.8 g fish per day by a 60 kg body weight adult were below the provisional tolerable daily intakes for Cd, Pb, Ni, Cr, and Cu and recommended daily intakes for Co, Fe, Mn, and Zn. The estimated target hazard quotients of the examined metals were less than 1 in the majority of the samples indicating no long-term health hazard at the present circumstance.


Metals Dietary Intakes Health risk Canned fish Nigeria 



The author is grateful to Dr. (Mrs) S.O Nwozo, Miss Ifeoma Ossai, Miss Onome Akpojivi, and Mr Godswill Tesi for their assistance during sampling and analysis.


  1. Abou-Arab, A. A. K., Ayesh, A. M., Amra, H. A., & Naguib, K. (1996). Characteristic levels of some pesticides and heavy metals in imported fish. Food, 57(4), 487–492.Google Scholar
  2. Amidzi Klaric, D., Klaric, I., Velic, D., & Vedrina Dragojevic, I. (2011). Evaluation of mineral and metal contents in Croatian Blackberry wines. Czech Journal of Food Science, 29, 260–267.Google Scholar
  3. Ashraf, W. (2006). Levels of selected heavy metals in tuna fish. The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, 31(1A), 89–92.Google Scholar
  4. Ashraf, W., Seddigi, Z., Abulkibash, A., & Khalid, M. (2006). Levels of selected metals in canned fish consumed in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Environmental Monitoring Assessment, 117, 271–279. doi: 10.1007/s10661-006-0989-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Babalola, A. F., Olusola, A. O., Akande, G. R., Ezekiel, M. O., Adeleke, T. A., & Ozor, P. A. (2014). Mercury, cadmium content and organoleptic quality of some canned seafood sold in Nigerian market. IOSR Journal of Agriculture and Veterinary Science, 7(4), 14–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boadi, N. O., Twumasi, S. K., Badu, M., & Osei, I. (2011). Heavy metal contamination in canned fish marketed in Ghana. America Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research, 2(6), 877–882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boufleur, L. A., Dos Santos, C. E. I., Debastiani, R., Yoneama, M. L., Amaral, L., & Dias, J. F. (2013). Elemental characterization of Brazilian canned tuna fish using particle induced x-ray emission (PIXE). Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 30, 19–25. doi: 10.1016/j.jfca.2013.01.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Canli, M., & Atti, G. (2003). The relationships between heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Fe, Pb, Zn) Levels and the size of six Mediterranean fish species. Environmental Pollution, 121, 129–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. CCFAC (Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants) (2001). Comments Submitted on Draft Maximum levels for lead and Cadmium . Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programmme, Thirty-third session. The Hague, the Netherlands 12–16 March 2001.Google Scholar
  10. Celik, U., & Oehlenschlager, J. (2007). High contents of cadmium, lead, zinc and copper in popular fishery products sold in Turkey super markets. Food Control, 18(3), 258–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Council Regulation (EC) No. 466/2001 of 8 March 2001 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs. (Official Journal L313, 30/11/2001 P.0060-0060).Google Scholar
  12. Dahiya, S., Karpe, R., Hegde, A. G., & Sherma, R. M. (2005). Lead, cadmium and nickel in chocolate and candies from suburban areas of Mumbai. India Journal of Food Compositon and Analysis, 18, 517–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Demirezen, D., & Uruc, K. (2006). Comparative study of trace elements in certain fish, meat and meat products. Meat Science, 74, 255–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. EFSA (2011). Scientific Opinion statement ion tolerable weekly intake for cadmium. EFSA Journal, 9, 1975 Accessed 21 Feb 2012.
  15. EU (2003). Opinioon of the scientific committee on food on the Tolerable Upper intake level of Copper European commission, Brussels, Belgium. Available online from Accessed 1 May 2012.
  16. European Union (EC) (2005). Commission Regulation as regards heavy metals. Amending Regulation 466/2001.No.78/2005.Google Scholar
  17. FAO (1983). Compilation of Legal Limits for Hazardous Substances in Fish and Fishery Products. FAO Fishery Circular No 464, pp 5–100.Google Scholar
  18. FAO (2008). Statistics division, food security, food consumption.
  19. FAO/WHO (2011). Joint FAO/WHO Food Standard Programme. Codex Committee on Contaminant in foods 5 th session. The Hague, the Netherlands, 21–25 March 2011 90p. http://www. Accessed 15 July 2013.
  20. Frias-Espericueta, M. G., Quintero-Alvarez, J. M., Osuna-Lopez, J. I., Sanchez-Gaxiola, C. M., Lopez-Lopez, G., Izuguirre-Fierro, G., & Voltolina, D. (2010). Metal contents of flour commercial fish species of NW Mexico. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 85, 334–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hague, T., Petroczi, A., Adrews, P.L.R., Barker, J., & Naughton, D.P. (2008). Determination of metal ion contents of beverages and estimation of target hazard quotients: a comparative study. Chemistry Central Journal. doi: 10.1186/1752-153x-2-13. Available from
  22. Ikem, A., & Egiebor, N. O. (2005). Assessment of trace elements in canned fishes (mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardine and herrings) marketed in Georgia and Alabama (USA). Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 18, 771–787.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Iwegbue, C. M. A., Nwajei, G. E., Arimoro, F. O., & Eguavoen, O. (2009). Characteristic levels of heavy metals in canned sardines consumed in Nigeria. Environmentalist, 29, 431–435. doi: 10.1007/S10669-009-9233-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Iwegbue, C. M. A., Nwozo, S. O., Overah, & Nwajei, G. E. (2010). Survey of trace element composition of commercial infant food formulas in the Nigerian market. Food Additives and Contaminants Part B. doi: 10.1080/1944-0049.2010.497502.Google Scholar
  25. Islam, M. M., Bag, S., Kim, K. W., Ahmed, M. K., & Jannat, M. (2011). Heavy metals in frozen and canned fish marine fish Korea. Journal of Scientific Research, 2(3), 549–557.Google Scholar
  26. Kalogeropoulos, N., Karavoltsos, S., Sakellari, A., & Avramidou, S. (2012). Heavy metals in raw, fried, and grilled Mediterranean finfish and shell fish. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 50, 3702–3708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Khansari, F. E., Khansari, G., & Abdollahi, M. (2005). Heavy metal contents of canned tuna fish. Food Chemistry, 93, 293–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. MAFF (1995). Monitoring and surveillance of non-radioactive contaminants on the aquatic environment and activities regulating the disposal of wastes at sea, 1993. Aquatic environment monitoring report No 44. Directorate of fisheries research, Lowestoft.Google Scholar
  29. Mahalakshmi, M., Balakrishnan, S., Indira, K., & Srinivasan, M. (2012). Characteristic levels of heavy metals in canned tuna fish. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Science, 4(2), 43–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Malakootian, M., Tahegorabi, M., Daneshpajooh, M., & Amirtaheri, K. (2011). Determination of Pb, Cd, Ni and Zn concentrations in canned fish in southern Iran. Sacha Journal of Environmental Studies, 1(1), 94–100.Google Scholar
  31. Marais, A. D., & Blackhurst, D. M. (2009). Do heavy metals counter the potential health benefits of wine. JEMDSA, 14(2), 77–79.Google Scholar
  32. Mendil, D., Uluozlu, O. D., Hasdemir, E., Tuzen, M., Sari, H., & Suicmez, M. (2005). Determination of trace metal levels of seven fish species in lakes in Tokal, Turkey. Food Chemistry, 90, 175–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mol, S. (2011a). Levels of selected trace metals in canned tuna fish produced in Turkey. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 24, 66–69. doi: 10.1016/j.fca.2010.04.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mol, S. (2011b). levels of heavy metals in canned Benito, sardines and mackerel produced in Turkey. Biological Trace Element Research, 143, 974–982. doi: 10.1007/s12011-010-8909-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mol, S. (2011c). Determination of trace metals in canned anchovies and canned rainbow trout. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 49, 348–351. doi: 10.1016/jfct.2010.11.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Naughton, D. P., & Petroczi, A. (2008a). The metal ion theory of ageing: dietary target hazard quotients beyond radicals. Immunity Ageing, 5, 3. doi: 10.1186/1742-4933-5-3. This article is available from
  37. Naughton, D. P., & Petroczi, A. (2008b). Heavy metal ions in wines: meta-analysis of target hazard quotient reveals health risk. Central Journal, 2, 22. doi: 10.1186/1752-153x-2-22. This article is available from
  38. National Research Council (NRC). (1989). Recommended Dietary allowance: 10 th Edition. Washington: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  39. Nutrition Data. (2008). New York: CondeNet; C2003 – 2008. Available at Accessed 13 Oct 2008.
  40. Ponka, P., Tenebeins, M., Eaton, J.W. (2007). Iron In: Nordberg G.F, Fowler B.A, Nordberg, M., Friberg L.T. (Eds.). Handbook on the toxicology of metals, third ed. Academic Press pp.577-598.Google Scholar
  41. Shiber, J. G. (2011). Arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in sardines commercially available in eastern Kentucky, USA. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 82, 66–72. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.201.09.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sireli, U. T., Göncüoğlu, M., Yildirim, Y., Gücükoglu, A., & Cakmak, Ö. (2006). Assessment of heavy metals (cadmium and lead) in vacuum packaged smoked fish species (mackerel, Salmo salar and Oncorhynhus mykiss) marketed in Ankara (Turkey). European Union Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Science, 23(2–4), 353–356.Google Scholar
  43. Sivaperumal, P., Sanker, T. V., & Viswanathan Nair, P. G. (2007). Heavy metals concentrations in fish, shellfish and fish products from international standards. Food Chemistry, 102(3), 612–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Storelli, M. M. (2008). Potential human health risks from metal (Hg, Cd and Pb) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) via seafood consumption. Estimation of target hazard quotients (THQs) and toxic equivalents (TEQs). Food and Chemical Toxicology, 46, 2782–2788.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Suppin, D., Zahlbruchker, R., Krapfenbauer-Coemak, C. H., Hassan-Hawer, C. H., & Smulders, F. J. M. (2005). Mercury, lead and cadmium content of fresh and canned fish collected from Austrian retail operations. Ernahrung/Nutretion, 29(11), 456–460.Google Scholar
  46. Tahan, J. E., Sanchez, J. M., Granadillo, V. A., Cubilan, H. S., & Romero, R. A. (1995). Concentration of total Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Na, Pb, and Zn in commercial canned seafood determine by atomic absorption spectrometric means after mineralization by microwave heating. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 43, 910–915.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tarley, C. R. T., Conltro, W. K. T., Matsushita, M., & de Souza, N. E. (2001). Characteristic levels of some heavy metals from Brazilian canned sardines (Sardinella brasiliensis). Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 14, 671–617. doi: 10.1006/jfea.2001.1028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Ministry of Health. Turkish Food Codex of certain contaminants in foodstuffs (communiqué No:2002/62) official Gazette No. 24885 dated 23 September, 2002.Google Scholar
  49. Tuzen, M., & Soylak, M. (2007). Determination of trace metals in canned fish marketed in Turkey. Food Chemistry, 101(1378–1382), 33.Google Scholar
  50. USAID (2009). Markets: Increasing competitiveness and food security in Nigeria. Accessed 2 Dec 2013.
  51. United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) 2004. What you need to know about mercury in fish and shellfish. EPA −823-F-04-009. 2 pp. available at
  52. Veogborlo, R. B., El-Methnani, A. M., & Abedin, M. Z. (1999). Mercury, cadmium and lead content of canned tuna fish. Food Chemistry, 67, 341–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Vracko P, Tuomisto J, Grad J, Kunsler E. 2007. Exposure to children to chemical hazards in food. Fact Sheet 44 May Code RPG 4 Food Ex/. European Environment and Health Information System. World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. Copenhagen, Demark.Google Scholar
  54. World Health Organization (WHO). (1993). Evaluation of certain food addi-tives and contaminants. Technical Report series no. 837. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  55. World Health Organization (WHO) (1996). Health criteria other supporting information: In guideline for drinking water quality. Vol 2 Second Ed. Geneva pp 31–388.Google Scholar
  56. World Health Organization (WHO) (2003). Summary and conclusion of the 61 st meeting of the Joint FOA/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) JECFA/Sc Rome, Italy 10–19 June, 2013.Google Scholar
  57. World Health Organization (WHO). (2004). Guidelines for drinking water quality Vol. 1. Recommendations. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  58. World Health Organization (WHO) (2008). Guidelines for drinking water quality 3 rd ed. Vol. 1 Recommendations. World Health Organization Geneva. Available at: Accessed 21 Jan 2012.
  59. Zarei, M., Mollaie, A., & Eskandari, M. H. (2010). Histamine and heavy metals content of canned tuna fish. Global Veterinaria, 5(5), 259–263.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryDelta State UniversityAbrakaNigeria

Personalised recommendations