We shouldn't eat eels from Dutch rivers any more, cautions food institute RIKILT. The fish contain too many dioxins and PCBs due to polluted river sludge.
‘Most eels in the Netherlands – about ninety five percent, are farmed. But if the neighbourhood fishmonger happens to have many river eels in stock, a problem will arise’, says Hoogenboom. ‘A person who eats river eel once a month would already have higher dioxin levels in his body.’ Wild eels from other waters are less contaminated; cultivated eels also fall within the standards.
The only way to clean the Dutch eel and rivers is to remove the cause. ‘Polluted river sludge, passed down from the sixties and seventies, is the big troublemaker’, explains Hoogenboom. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that an eel which spends its whole life wallowing in a poisonous marinade of chemicals and slime is far from healthy. Cleaning up is the only way to solve this problem in the short run, he says, but a costly one.