View Full Version : Health experts warn against eating shellfish from island after toxins found

Davie Tait
7th August 2012, 15:14

Health experts have warned against eating shellfish from an Outer Hebrides island after high levels of toxins were recorded.

Raised levels of shellfish toxins were found in three bodies of water off the coast of Lewis, at West Loch Roag, Miavaig, and Eilean Tenish.

Consumers are being advised not to eat cockles, mussels or razor fish from those areas until further notice.

Council bosses will monitor the situation and issue updates when circumstances change.

A spokesman for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) said: “Eating shellfish such as cockles, mussels or razor fish from these areas may pose a risk to human health and notices to warn the public and casual gatherers have been posted at various locations on the shore.

“Commercial shellfish harvesters in these areas have been contacted by the Comhairle and steps taken to postpone harvesting until algae levels subside.

“It is a sensible precaution to avoid eating shellfish from these areas until further notice.”

A spokeswoman for the Food Standards Agency said: "Naturally occurring blooms of toxin producing phytoplankton, particularly in the summer months, can give rise to toxins in shellfish flesh.

"In accordance with EU food safety legislation, the Food Standards Agency undertakes a risk based sampling regime across Scottish shellfish producing areas in order to help protect public health from the risk associated with consuming filter feeding shellfish such as mussels and oysters.

"Analysis of shellfish flesh, for these toxins, is undertaken by the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). Where the results of these analyses are above regulatory levels, local authorities will close affected fisheries and also advise the public not to consume such shellfish until the results of further sampling and analysis shows that the levels of toxins have reduced to safe levels."