Fish and bush food containing PFAS chemicals

Some types of wild fish and bushfoods in the Northern Territory (NT) contain small amounts of per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

PFAS are man-made chemicals that resist heat, oil, stains and water.

These chemicals are found in many common household products such as:

  • shampoo
  • non-stick cookware
  • paints
  • pesticides.

PFAS may affect your health if you regularly eat food from contaminated areas over a long period of time.

It is still safe to eat fish from the NT, but you should only eat some types of seafood occasionally because of higher PFAS levels.

Limit how much fish you eat in some areas

You should limit how much fish, shellfish and crustaceans you eat from the following areas:

  • Katherine River (between Donkey Camp Weir and Daly River)
  • Tindal Creek
  • Rapid Creek
  • Ludmilla Creek.

Tourists and visitors who may occasionally eat fish from the affected areas have a very low risk.

To find out how much wild caught fish you can safely eat around the Darwin area, get the following:

Fishing in Darwin creeks fact sheet (102.7 kb)
Fishing in Darwin creeks poster (582.2 kb).

To find out how much wild caught fish you can safely eat around the Katherine area, get the following:

Fishing in the Katherine area fact sheet (202.8 kb)
Fishing in the Katherine area poster (563.0 kb).

Limit how much bush food you eat in some areas

You should avoid eating varieties of bush food from near these areas:

  • Katherine River
  • Tindal Creek.

This includes all of the following:

  • wildlife species
  • native fruit
  • native vegetables
  • native plants.

Tourists and visitors who may occasionally eat fish from the affected areas have a very low risk.

It is still safe to eat plants and animals from the Katherine region. But you should limit how much you eat because some species contain higher levels of PFAS.

To find out more about PFAS in bush food found in Katherine and affected areas, get the following:

Bushfoods in Katherine fact sheet (103.4 kb)
Eating bush tucker from Katherine poster (1023.4 kb).

Further information

For more information about PFAS and food standards, go to the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority website.

Contact

If you have questions about PFAS in food, contact Environmental Health by calling 1800 095 646 or emailing envirohealth@nt.gov.au.

Last updated: 06 August 2019

Share:

Was this page useful?

Describe your experience

More feedback options

To provide comments or suggestions about the NT.GOV.AU website, complete our feedback form.

For all other feedback or enquiries, you must contact the relevant government agency.