SCALLOPS caught off the Dorset coast are still showing signs of being affected by toxins.

The algal toxin incident which started in May, which showed scallops caught in the sea off the coast in Dorset to be affected by higher than permitted levels of ASP type toxin, is continuing.

Authorities in Dorset continue to work closely with the Food Standards Agency, the CEFAS laboratory, the Marine Management Organisation and the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority to monitor ASP levels in both the whole and shucked scallops caught.

Whole scallop samples taken from the Lulworth Banks and Lyme Bay still show the toxin to be above the permitted level but samples of shucked scallops, for example, the muscle and roe of the scallops are showing levels of toxin which are safe for consumption.

Shucking, however, must only be done in approved establishments or all toxin may not be removed and toxin from the scallop could contaminate preparation surfaces.

Divers and others placing scallops on the market are legally required to test each batch for the presence of ASP toxin and only if the batch has a level less than 20 mg of domoic acid/kg of scallop flesh can it be marketed.

Chairman of Weymouth Port Health Committee Cllr Paul Kimber, pictured right, said: “We have a duty to protect the safety of the public. The measures that have been put in place will ensure that consumers can continue to trust the quality of shellfish.”

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.

If you have any questions about this algal toxin problem contact Weymouth Port Health Authority on 01305 838432.

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