Warning over clams and mussels from Anstruther and Pittenweem

Public warned not to eat mussels from Anstruther and Pittenweem
Public warned not to eat mussels from Anstruther and Pittenweem

FIFE Council is advising the public not to eat clams and mussels from Anstruther and Pittenweem due to high levels of toxin.

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, commonly known as PSP, was found in surf clams during routine sampling of the shellfish by the Food Standards Agency on Friday.

If high levels of the toxin are eaten, paralysis of the muscles used for breathing can in extreme situations lead to death, if medical help is not sought.
The fisheries have been closed temporarily and steps have been taken to trace and destroy affected product.

Although only surf clams are included in the closure of the site, the public are being warned that other species such as mussels are also likely to be affected and should not be picked from beaches in the area. In addition, care should be taken to carefully remove the guts from crabs before eating to remove the toxins which may have built up there.

Roy Stewart, Fife Council’s Protective Services Senior Manager said: “The presence of PSP in shellfish occurs from time to time, particularly during the summer months. It is essential that until levels return to safe levels, none of these shellfish are eaten.”

Symptoms of PSP usually start with tingling of the lips and tongue, which can begin within minutes of eating affected shellfish.

This may be followed by tingling of fingers and toes, loss of control of arms and legs and difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Further samples are being taken but only when two consecutive tests, taken at least 7 days apart, show levels have fallen below the statutory limit, will the fisheries area be re-opened.