Food Law News - UK - 2008

FSA Consultation Letter, 26 March 2008

SHELLFISH - High Performance Liquid Chromatography for the detection of paralytic shellfish poisoning in England

It has been proposed that, from 5 May 2008, HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) will be introduced in England. This is in place of the MBA (mouse bioassay) for the detection of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins in mussels submitted as part of the statutory biotoxin monitoring programme. Responses are requested by: 21 April 2008

Consultation details

The replacement of animal tests where a scientific alternative is available is a requirement under EU Council Directive 86/609/EEC and The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Currently Regulation (EC) No. 2074/2005 sets the biological testing method (MBA) as the reference method for the detection of PSP toxins. However, the same regulation also allows the use of alternative methods for statutory monitoring if they have been internationally recognised.

The key proposals set out in the current consultation are:

We welcome comments from stakeholders on these proposals and on any practicalities and/or difficulties in introduction of the quantitative HPLC method may bring. Stakeholders are also invited to respond to the following specific questions:

Separate but similar consultations on introduction of the same method are taking place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A stakeholder meeting is planned for 4 April 2008, in Aviation House, London, starting at 2.00pm. The meeting will provide an overview of the proposed new approach to testing and reporting results under the statutory monitoring programme and of the operating characteristics of the HPLC method. Interested parties will also have an opportunity to discuss the issues included in the consultation. Stakeholders planning to be present should confirm their attendance by 28 March 2008 if they haven't done so already.

An additional FSA background paper on this subject is available on this site. See: FSA Shellfish Background Paper

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