Pacific oysters, mussels | The Norwegian Food Safety Authority warns against eating local mussels

Pacific oysters, mussels |  The Norwegian Food Safety Authority warns against eating local mussels

This was revealed in the latest warning issued by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority about mussels, via Matportalen, which states whether it is safe to eat mussels. The presence of algae in particular and algal toxins are monitored in the shells.

The mainly researched algal toxins are diarrheal toxins, shellfish poisoning (DSP -oxin) and paralytic shellfish toxins (PSP -oxin), which are respectively a diarrheal toxin and a neurotoxin.

There is also research on algae that produce an amnesiac toxin for shellfish poisoning (ASP toxin) that destroys brain cells and can cause permanent memory loss, as well as algae that can be toxic to fish.

A red mussel warning has been issued in several places in Norway, including Asker, Fredrikstad, Egersund and Tromsø. This means that it is not recommended to eat selected shellfish in the relevant areas.

There are no commercial entities

– Here in Fredrikstad, no one collects mussels for resale. So it’s summer visitors and permanent residents who fancy wild mussels, says Peter Bjorg at Storm Østers. His company focuses on Pacific oysters only. He considered collecting mussels, too, but said it was impossible to compete with the price of mussels from breeders in Norway and Sweden.

“The quality of these mussels is good, and their prices are much lower than we would have asked for a profitable operation,” says Björg.

Awaiting a response from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority

Bjørge says Pacific clams have very different biological characteristics than mussels. But it also depends on getting weekly approval from Mattislynet. He has just received a visit from them, and is waiting for samples from the psychologists who are taking tests this week.

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– I’m not so worried. Over the next years we have been collecting Pacific oysters in Hvaler, and we have not yet been banned from selling them. Peter Bjorg says it’s part of history that everything we sell first went through a long cleaning process.

He cautions against harvesting Pacific oysters yourself

Bjørge doesn’t recommend that people go out and pick Pacific oysters themselves. Especially if the plan is to eat them raw.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority states that the mussel warning does not include Pacific oysters. But at the same time he warns that these can also contain algae toxins. Shellfish feed on planktonic algae by filtering seawater for algae. Certain types of algae can contain toxins that then accumulate in the shell.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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