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EU auditor slams Danish shellfish control

According to the European Commission, the Danish control system for live bivalve mollusks is not good enough.

DG Sante, EU Health and Safety Department, April to May 2021.

Auditors say potential public health risks cannot be ruled out because the system does not reliably protect against live bivalve mollusks contaminated with E. coli and bivalve mollusks containing biotoxins exceeding regulatory limits Shellfish enter the market.

The inspection covers official control of live bivalve molluscs in and outside the classified production area until harvest, including laboratory support.

90,000 tons in 2018 and 2019. Mainly blue mussels, but also common clams, clams, oysters and conch. There are 165 production areas in national legislation and 56 production areas have been active in the past three years.

Previous audit in 2012 highlighted microbial quality and biotoxin production areas, laboratories and testing methods. It made nine recommendations.

Classification and monitoring
Latest assessment finds that national legislation almost deviates All EU requirements and 17 recommendations were made. Lack of laboratory oversight and flaws in analytical methods, particularly for biotoxins, severely limit authorities’ reliance on test results, the report said.

Most of the resulting appellations considered are from the harvester’s self-inspection program. However, heat treatment of most samples, lack of training of sampling personnel, lack of control and supervision, and sampling sites not representative of the area may have affected the results.

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) has an annual project to verify the reliability of harvester results. The audit assessed a case where there was a discrepancy between the two, and the official result was higher than the operator’s. The DVFA disregarded the official sample’s findings and used the harvester’s lower results to take action.

Classification of production areas does not meet EU requirements. This means there is a risk of E. coli-contaminated live bivalve mollusks entering the market, posing a potential threat to food safety, the report said.

In response, DVFA said it would reconsider the use of sanitary surveys, including fixed sampling points and monitoring settings in production areas for classification.

DVFA does not monitor production areas and has no sampling plan in place to examine the microbial quality of bivalve molluscs, the presence of toxin-producing plankton in seawater, and the presence of biotoxins and heavy metals in bivalve molluscs . This poses the risk that live bivalve molluscs with excess levels of biotoxins and heavy metals may be sent for sale.

DVFA disagrees with the findings about the lack of monitoring of production areas and says it believes that the Danish system provides safe bivalve mollusks to the market. However, the agency acknowledged that no plan with fixed sampling sites was implemented.

Laboratory results
The review team intends to review in 2019 and The lab that does all the tests on the harvester in 2020, but the lab refuses to meet. In 2021, Reaper changed the lab they were using.

DVFA has access to official or private laboratories and lists which laboratories harvesters can use to conduct self-tests. However, it does not carry out any kind of control, oversight or verification, so oversight is lacking.

A private laboratory contracted by DVFA is responsible for biotoxin analysis of official samples, as well as samples from harvesters. However, it has subcontracted this test to another laboratory in another country.

Although laboratories have validated and validated analytical methods for biotoxins, the reliability of the results is diminished because validation is more than a decade old and the matrices and methods used by laboratories are The substrates for approval and validation are different.

The Paralytic Shellfish Toxicology Laboratory was unable to analyze some of the compounds in this group, and proficiency testing showed that it was unable to detect many others. This suggests that there is a risk of underestimating this biotoxin. There are also concerns about the reliability of results for lipophilic toxin and amnesic shellfish poisoning.

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