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Portland Port "We Will Protect the Public" After Toxins Found in Dorset Shellfish


7:29am 21st May 2014

Tests are continuing on some shellfish, harvested off the Dorset coast, to make sure they're safe to eat.

It's after mussels and scallops were found to contain harmful algae toxins (ASP) that if eaten can cause dizziness, confusion, weakness, and in rare cases even death.

Weymouth Port's Health Authority say the contamination is the result of an algal bloom extending up the English Channel and at the moment they're unsure of its full extent.

Dorset fishermen selling their mollusc catch to the commercial market have to test each batch for the presence of the ASP toxin, to ensure they're safe for the public to eat.

Experts say the ASP toxin only affects mussels and scallops and Portland Harbour's classified production area has been formally closed as a result - the Fleet oyster bed is not affected,

Nigel Emery, Weymouth Port Health Authority Chief Port Health Officer said they're making sure members of the public are kept safe from the contaminated shellfish;

"It is our primary duty to protect the health of the public. We will be working with partners to monitor the situation.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused to businesses who harvest filter feeding molluscs but it is important that we ask businesses to comply with safeguards and the public not to gather them while investigations are carried out."

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.

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