In several countries such as the Netherlands, consumption of eel from polluted waters is not allowed because the concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) exceed official tolerance limits. Few experiments have been carried out to assess if pre-treatment, such as cooking and frying would alter the PCB concentrations and maybe bring them under the tolerance limits. We have carried out a frying and cooking experiment, which has shown that the concentrations of PCBs and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) increase in eel after frying. The effect of boiling is negligible. This shows that preparation methods for eel as food product do not help in bringing PCB and OCP concentrations down to safe values. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.