Because of the increased awareness of the health benefits of fish, fish consumption has increased each year in several countries, including Korea. However, fish consumption is associated with acute toxicity owing to the presence of biogenic amines in rapidly spoiling fish. Several food safety agencies have established standards for acceptable histamine concentrations in some restrictive fish and fishery products; however, such standards are not available for other species. We aimed to generate data from biogenic amine monitoring to evaluate the safety of fish commonly consumed in Korea. We monitored the biogenic amine concentrations in 609 fish samples from 19 commonly consumed species. Of these 609 samples, several had amine concentrations higher than the maximums allowed. An age-specific exposure assessment based on human biogenic amine exposure per serving revealed that persons 1 to 3 years of age had the highest exposure to total biogenic amines, although no significant differences were found between the age groups analyzed. The analysis also revealed that the exposure in some fish species, such as Japanese jack mackerel, Konoshiro gizzard shad, and brown sole, exceeded the standard limits established in some countries. These results suggest that more fish species should be included to establish standards for exposure to various biogenic amines. Parameters such as age-specific consumption and data for populations with maximum consumption should be considered because the current standards are limited to histamine and do not account for the differences in histamine sensitivity associated with these variables. Our results provide important data on limits for biogenic amines in various fish species that could be used to minimize potential health risks.

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