Last updated on 26 October 2005
Survey of organotins in shellfish
Food Survey Information Sheet 81/05
The Food Standards Agency has conducted a survey of organotins in shellfish. Organotins are present in seawater principally from marine paints, and accumulate in sediments where they are relatively persistent and can be taken up by fish and shellfish. Concentrations of contaminants in shellfish can vary with the type of shellfish, the geographical location and the spawning period.
This survey sampled 125 shellfish samples from commercial shellfish beds around Great Britain and 44 retail samples. Samples included mussels, cockles, oysters, clams, winkles, scallops and razor shells.
The aim of this study was to provide data on the food safety implications of organotins in shellfish and to provide data to inform any future European Commission discussions on limits for these substances in shellfish.
Organotin concentrations were analysed in 125 shellfish from commercial shellfish beds around Great Britain, together with 44 retail samples.
Intake estimates of organotins measured in shellfish in this survey show that the maximum levels found would contribute less than half of the Tolerable Daily Intake, as set by the European Food Safety Authority, for an average adult consumer.
The levels of organotins found in the shellfish analysed do not present a concern for health.