The Fish and Shellfish Hygiene Branch contributes to the Agency’s priority of ensuring Food Safety by aiming to reduce illness attributed to the consumption of shellfish. The current statutory monitoring programmes provide information on contamination of shellfish by both pathogenic organisms and by toxins produced by certain marine organisms. The results generated by the programmes are used to reduce the risk of contaminated products reaching the consumer.
The research programme focuses on the development and evaluation of new methods to detect toxins and viral pathogens in shellfish and to evaluate the potential of these to cause disease. The methods must be robust, consistent with use in a statutory monitoring programme, validated according to recognised guidelines and adhere to established performance characteristics. Information obtained from research is used to develop the Agency’s policy in this area.