Category Archives: Marine Biotoxin

Research – Emergent marine toxins risk assessment using molecular and chemical approaches

EFSA

Cyanobacteria harmful blooms represent a deviation to the normal equilibrium in planktonic communities involving a rapid and uncontrolled growth. Owing to the capacity to produce toxins as secondary metabolites, cyanobacteria may cause huge economic losses in the fishing and aquaculture industries and poisoning incidents to humans due to their accumulation in the food chain. The conditions which promote toxic blooms have not yet been fully understood, but climate change and anthropogenic intervention are pointed as significant factors. For the detection of toxins in edible marine organisms, the establishment of international regulations and compulsory surveillance has been probed as exceptionally effective. However, not regulation nor monitoring have been settled concerning emergent marine toxins. In the light of this scenario, it becomes essential to apply fast and reliable surveillance methodologies for the early detection of cyanobacterial blooms as well as the occurrence of emergent marine toxins. Shotgun metagenomic sequencing has potential to become a powerful diagnostic tool in the fields of food safety and One Health surveillance. This culture‐independent approach overcomes limitations of traditional microbiological techniques; it allows a quick and accurate assessment of a complex microbial community, including quantitative identification and functional characterisation, in a single experiment. In the framework of the EU‐FORA fellowship, with the final goal of evaluate metagenomics as a promising risk assessment tool, the fellow worked on the development of an innovative workflow through state‐of‐the‐art molecular and chemical analytical procedures. This work programme aims to evaluate the occurrence of emergent marine toxins and the producing organisms in Cabo Verde coastal cyanobacteria blooms. Our results show the outstanding potential of a holistic metagenomic approach for the risk assessment of emergent marine toxins and the producing organisms. Additionally, we have also highlighted its value for the identification and evaluation of secondary metabolites as natural bioactive compounds with biotechnological and industrial interest.

Guatemala – Four deaths in Guatemala linked to contaminated shellfish – Saitoxin – PSP

Food Safety News

More than 30 people have fallen sick and four have died in Guatemala after eating shellfish.

The National Commission for the Surveillance and Control of Red Tide in Guatemala has extended an alert because of the presence of saxitoxins above the limits on the coasts of Tiquisate, Escuintla, Retalhuleu and San Marcos.

Public health officials said that since the end of April, 34 people had been affected and three children and one adult had died.

Authorities urged the public not to eat bivalve mollusks such as mussels, clams and oysters.

A warning was issued earlier this month after monitoring and analysis detected high concentrations of saxitoxins above the limits.

Saxitoxin is a toxin responsible for paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). Harmful algal blooms are often called red tides.

RASFF – Lipophilic Toxins – Tellins

RASFF

Detection of lipophilic toxins on tellins in Italy, Spain and Switzerland

RASFF Alert – Tellins – Algal Lipophilic Toxin

RASFF

Detection of lipophilic toxins on tellins from France in Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland

The lipophilic toxins in shellfish can be divided into four groups of toxins with different chemical structures and biological effects: OA and its derivatives, the DTXs; the pectenotoxins (PTXs); the yessotoxins (YTXs); and the azaspiracids (AZAs). These toxins can often be found in combination in shellfish.

Guatemala: Red tide alert issued, One fatality reported -Saxitoxins – PSP

Outbreak News Today

The National Commission for Surveillance and Control of the Toxic Red Tide in Guatemala, declared a red tide alert because the constant monitoring and analysis that is carried out showed high concentrations of saxitoxins above the appropriate limits.

The presence of toxic red tide was detected on the Pacific Coast, on the coast of Tiquisate, Escuintla, indicated Virginia Herzing de Stwolinsky, head of the Risk Management Unit of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS).

For this reason, bivalve mollusks, such as mussels, clams and shells. The consumption of the aforementioned foods produces severe intoxication and could even cause death.

Saxitoxins are also known as paralytic shellfish poisons (PSPs). Most human saxitoxin toxicoses have been associated with the ingestion of marine shellfish, which accumulate saxitoxins produced by marine dinoflagellates. However, saxitoxins are also found in freshwaters, produced by cyanobacteria in the genera Anabaena, Aphanizomenon, Planktothrix, Cylindrospermopsis, Lyngbya and Scytonema

France – Tellines – DSP marine biotoxins – Diarrhoeic Shellfish Poisoning

Gov france

Identification information of the recalled product

  • Product category Food
  • Product subcategory Fishery and aquaculture products
  • Product brand name Unbranded
  • Model names or references Tellines shipped between 03 and 05 May 2022
  • Identification of products
    Batch
    All lots
  • Storage temperature Product to be stored at room temperature
  • Health markFR.29.158.500.CE
  • Geographic area of ​​sale Whole France
  • Distributors Wholesalers / Independents

Practical information regarding the recall

  • Reason for recall Prefectural decree – Closure of fishing area
  • Risks incurred by the consumer DSP marine biotoxins (diarrheal toxins)

New Zealand – Public health warning for shellfish for entire Pelorus Sound area, Marlborough Sounds – PSP

MPI

Map of the affected area to the entire Pelorus Sound area, Marlborough Sounds

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today issued an extension to the public health warning advising the public not to collect or consume shellfish harvested from Crail Bay in Marlborough Sounds. The extension now applies to the entire Pelorus Sound area including its arms to the east and west, up to a line at the entrance from Paparoa to Culdaff Point.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from this region have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

Note, cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed, its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.

Symptoms typically appear between 10 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion and may include:

  • numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face, and extremities (hands and feet)
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • paralysis and respiratory failure and in severe cases, death.

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued, phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek medical attention immediately. You are also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.

Monitoring of toxin levels will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly. Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – is subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat.

New Zealand – Public health warning for shellfish for all of Crail Bay, Marlborough Sounds – Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins

MPI

Map of the affected area all of Crail Bay, Marlborough Sounds

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today issued a public health warning advising the public not to collect or consume shellfish harvested from all of Crail Bay in the Marlborough Sounds.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from this region have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

Note, cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed, its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.

Symptoms typically appear between 10 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion and may include:

  • numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face, and extremities (hands and feet)
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • paralysis and respiratory failure and in severe cases, death.

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued, phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek medical attention immediately. You are also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.

Monitoring of toxin levels will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly. Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – is subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat.

Find out more

Read the signs in the affected area.

Shellfish biotoxin alerts

Subscribe to shellfish biotoxins to receive email alerts

Collecting shellfish and keeping them safe [PDF, 1.4 MB]

Causes and symptoms of toxic shellfish poisoning

About toxic algal blooms

Food safety for seafood gatherers booklet [PDF, 688 KB]

New Zealand – Public health warning extended for shellfish on the West Coast, South Island – Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxins

MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today issued an extension to the public health warning advising the public not to collect or consume shellfish harvested from the South Island’s West Coast. The public health warning now extends from the Grey River mouth, north to the Ngakawau River mouth at Hector.

Tests on shellfish samples taken from Cape Foulwind have detected levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxins above the safe limit of 0.16 mg/kg set by MPI.  Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

Ongoing testing will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

Note, cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed, its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.

Symptoms typically appear within half an hour of ingestion and last for about 24 hours. Symptoms may include:

  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • abdominal cramps.

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued, freephone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek medical attention immediately. You are also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.

Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – are subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat. There is no commercial harvesting of shellfish in the affected area.

New Zealand – Public health warning about shellfish in the Orewa and Warkworth area, North Island – PSP Toxins

MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today issued a public health warning against collecting shellfish from the Orewa and Warkworth area. The warning extends from Takatu Point on the Tāwharanui Peninsula, south to Huaroa Point on the Whangaparoa Peninsula. The warning includes Mahurangi Harbour, Kawau Island and the smaller islands west of Kawau Island.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from Mahurangi Harbour have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

Note, cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.

Symptoms typically appear between 10 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion and may include:

  • numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face, and extremities (hands and feet)
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • paralysis and respiratory failure and in severe cases, death.

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued, freephone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek medical attention immediately. You are also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.

Monitoring of toxin levels will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly. Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – is subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat. There is no commercial harvesting of shellfish in the affected area.