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Spring Bay mussels update

Blue mussels

Information received on 5 November 2012 indicates the algae causing the appearance of paralytic shellfish toxin in farmed mussels harvested from the Spring Bay area near Maria Island is Alexandrium tamarense.

This algae has produced this type of toxin overseas but is not previously known to have contaminated Tasmanian shellfish.

The factors triggering this recent bloom are unclear and it is not known how long the bloom will last.

The previously named areas on the East Coast remain closed to commercial shellfish harvesting and the public is reminded not to harvest wild shellfish for eating from any location.

Blackman Bay south of Mercury Passage, near Dunalley, has now been added to the list of precautionary closures and precautionary monitoring is underway in adjacent areas, to continue to protect public safety.

The recall of Spring Bay mussels is proceeding and a large quantity has been withheld or retrieved from the market.

While there have been no reports of paralytic shellfish poisoning to date, it is possible milder clinical cases have been missed.

Doctors are being asked to notify any suspected cases to our Public Health Hotline number 1800 671 738.

Paralytic shellfish toxins identified to date include a group known as saxitoxins. Consumption of relatively small amounts of such toxins can cause significant illness.

Shellfish containing paralytic shellfish toxin don’t look or taste any different, and the toxin is not destroyed by cooking or freezing.

Consumers can find out more about affected products by visiting the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website

Photo © Food Standards Australia New Zealand