Shellfish toxin testing

Regulation (EC) No. 2019/627 of the European Union, requires member states to monitor shellfish production areas “for the presence of toxin producing phytoplankton in production and relaying waters”.

In Northern Ireland this work is undertaken by staff from the Fisheries and Aquatic Ecosystems Branch at AFBI Newforge Lane on behalf of the competent authority, the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland (FSANI).

This work involves the identification and enumeration of a number of potential toxin-producing phytoplankton species in seawater using microscopy techniques. This work provides an early warning mechanism and investigative tool for the potential occurrence of shellfish toxin events.