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Health Scare At Portland Port


4:54pm 20th May 2014
(Updated 5:15pm 20th May 2014)

There's a health scare concerning scallops landed at Portland Port..

The harbour's closed to harvests of them as the presence of the ASP toxins above the permitted levels is a risk to public health according to Weymouth Port Health Authority.

ASP or Amnesic Shellfish Poisioning can cause neurological symptoms if consumed in sufficient quantities with symptoms including dizziness, short term memory loss and possible death.

Here's part of the message from Weymouth Port Health Authority:

Routine testing of scallops  on the Dorset coast has indicated the presence of ASP* toxin in the algae in quantities which present a risk to health. This follows the growth of an algal bloom extending up the English Channel.
It is not possible for the authorities to define the exact extent of this bloom. Commercial gatherers placing scallops on the market for human consumption must, therefore, ensure that they or the auction market/wholesaler/merchant they supply, must test each batch of scallops for the presence of ASP toxin to ensure they are safe to eat. Not to do this constitutes an offence under the Food Safety & Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 as well as being a public health risk.
The authorities are working closely with the Food Standards Agency, the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and the Marine Management Organisation to monitor the situation.  
Portland Harbour as a classified  production area has been formally closed to the harvesting of filter feeding  molluscs following the detection of toxins in mussels above the permitted level. This closure does not include The Fleet oyster beds.

*ASP ( Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) type toxin can cause neurological  symptoms if consumed in sufficient quantity. These symptoms include dizziness, confusion, weakness, permanent short-term memory loss and in very rare cases, death.
 Members of the public are advised not to gather filter feeding molluscs for their own consumption until further notice, in case they contain this toxin.
If you have any questions about this algal toxin problem please contact Weymouth Port Health Authority on 01305 838432 or email Porthealth@weymouth.gov.uk

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