The UK Food Standards Agency has announced that a number of shellfish harvesting sites in Scotland have been closed following detection of unusually high levels of marine biotoxins and an outbreak of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning in south east England.
The outbreak is thought to have affected at least 70 people who consumed mussels harvested in the same area of Shetland. Subsequent testing revealed high levels of toxin in waters from this fishery. The mussels were supplied to a number of restaurants where customers later reported the symptoms of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP).
DSP is caused by the okadaic acid group of marine toxins, which are produced by algae and accumulate in filter feeding shellfish. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, but are not usually serious and recovery within three days is typical.
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