Warning issued over shellfish from Kerry harbour due to dangerous toxins

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority said shellfish from the Castlemaine Harbour area should not be consumed, raw or cooked, due to the presence of two toxins which can cause serious illness
Warning issued over shellfish from Kerry harbour due to dangerous toxins

Muireann Duffy

The public is being warned to avoid gathering shellfish in an area in Co Kerry following the discovery of two marine toxin groups which can cause serious illness in humans if contaminated shellfish are consumed.

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has said shellfish should not be gathered for personal consumption from the Catlemaine Harbour area as the shellfish are not safe to eat, either raw or cooked.

Molluscs, such as oysters, mussels and clams, can accumulate these toxins, which are produced by a certain species of phytoplankton. While the toxins do not harm the shellfish, they can cause illness in humans when contaminated shellfish is consumed.

The toxins in questions, Paralytic Shellfish Toxins (PST) and Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxins (DST), were detected during routine testing as part of a shellfish monitoring programme managed by SFPA and the Marine Institute.

The Castlemaine production area has subsequently been closed for the harvesting of shellfish and will remain so until further notice.

In addition to the warning, the SFPA's executive chairperson Paschal Hayes also urged consumers to "only purchase seafood, whether for personal consumption or for sale, through reputable suppliers".

"Food businesses, including restaurants and retail outlets, should always look for the oval approval number on orders which confirms the supplier is approved to sell live bivalve molluscs," he added.

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