Two audits by the European Commission’s health and safety agency have looked at checks on food of non-animal origin (FNAO) and bivalve mollusks in Turkey.

A DG Sante audit on FNAO, in September 2022, made three recommendations. The focus was microbiological contamination of soft berries like strawberries, leafy crops such as lettuce, and dry tomatoes for export to the European Union.

Food safety at primary production is addressed through, and depends on, good agricultural practices inspection and private certification systems. However, this does not cover small growers supplying export channels outside the main supermarket chains, and authorities do not verify

Continue Reading EU assesses produce and shellfish controls in Turkey

Denmark’s control system on live bivalve mollusks is not good enough, according to the European Commission.

DG Sante, the EU’s health and safety unit, held a remote audit in Denmark from April to May 2021.

Auditors said potential public health risks cannot be excluded as the system does not reliably prevent live bivalve mollusks contaminated with E. coli and bivalve mollusks with biotoxins exceeding the regulatory limits from reaching the market.

The check covered the official control of live bivalve mollusks in classified production areas and outside them, until harvesting, including the laboratory support.

Production of live bivalve mollusks in

Continue Reading Danish shellfish controls slammed by EU auditors

Food recall guidance for businesses in New Zealand has been updated.

The guidance document includes example procedures, checklists, and spreadsheets plus revised recall risk assessment and audit forms. Six steps are listed with the first being investigate to understand the problem and the last is audit so corrective and preventative actions can be reviewed or identified.

The aim is to make it faster and easier for companies to prepare for and conduct food recalls.

Vincent Arbuckle, New Zealand Food Safety deputy director general, said food businesses generally do a good job of keeping their customers safe.

“When things go
Continue Reading New Zealand revises food recall guidance to help companies

Authorities in Ireland and New Zealand have issued warnings about consumption of collected shellfish in the past week.

The Marine Institute in Ireland detected amounts of naturally occurring compounds in shellfish that can cause illness in consumers. Increased levels have been found in recent weeks during a routine nationwide shellfish monitoring program along the South West and West coasts.

Toxins are diarrheic shellfish poisoning (DSP) which can lead to temporary gastroenteritis-like illness and a less common Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP), which can cause serious illness. Shellfish with toxic levels of PSP don’t look or taste any different from those that
Continue Reading Authorities issue warnings about toxins in shellfish

It’s time to grab a sun hat and shovel, or rake, and head to the beach to dig for clams or gather oysters. What could be a better summer outing? But time is of the essence. This season’s last chance for minus low tides, which are the best times to dig for shellfish or gather oysters, is coming up.

As reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the upcoming minus low tides, defined as tides that are lower than the local mean tide, will be:
West Coast, August 9-11;
East Coast south of New York, August 10-12; and
Continue Reading The best of times for shellfish harvest, the worst of times for shellfish harvest

The discovery of unsafe levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison in samples of shellfish collected near Seattle has prompted the closing of Puget Sound beaches for recreational shellfish harvest. Washington state officials, along with Seattle and King County public health officials are warning the public to honor the harvest bans that include oysters, mussels, oysters, geoduck and scallops.

Click on image to go to interactive map.
Click on image to go to interactive map.
“The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has closed beaches to recreational shellfish harvest from Three Tree Point south to the Pierce County line, including Des Moines Marina Park, Saltwater State
Continue Reading DSP forces closure of beaches to recreational shellfish harvests

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska has set up an environmental research and testing lab in Sitka and plans to begin testing local shellfish for biotoxins this spring. There has reportedly been some concern about the distance and turnaround time to have locally harvested shellfish tested in Anchorage by the state, which currently operates the only FDA-certified lab in Alaska.

Sitka lab guys
Michael Jamros, lab manager (left), with Chris Whitehead, founder of the Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research group in Sitka. (Photo by Emily Kwong/KCAW)
Eating shellfish such as clams, oysters, cockles and mussels can put humans at
Continue Reading Alaska tribe establishes Sitka lab to test shellfish for biotoxins