Cockles and Mussels, Alive Alive... NO!
The Food Safety Authority has issued a warning urging locals and holidaymakers alike to refrain from harvesting and eating wild shellfish from the seashore of the North West.
This appeal follows reports that about a dozen people along the west coast have succumbed to food poisoning in recent weeks after consuming wild shellfish growing along the seashore.
It is thought that the cause of these illnesses is algal blooms which occurs naturally along the west coast. The Marine Institute have reported that algal blooms have severely affected areas of the North West, from Mayo to Donegal, although they now appear to be subsiding.
Mussels, oysters, scallops, cockles and clams are all affected by this natural phenomenon.
FSAI chief executive Prof Alan Reilly said some people engaged in the gathering of shellfish in the region may be unaware of the dangers of consuming the shellfish they collect.
“Wild shellfish found along the west coast may contain naturally occurring toxins that cannot be removed through cooking alone,” he said.
“Eating shellfish contaminated with these toxins can lead to people suffering nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps. The effects are not life-threatening but can be particularly severe for older people, young children and people who may already be ill from another medical condition.”
Anyone suffering from such symptoms is advised to contact their local GP.
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