Soft shell crab is a seafood delicacy in many parts of the world. In Denmark, it has been investigated whether a commercial production of soft shell European green crabs (Carcinus maenas) would be feasible. In relation to this, a feeding study was performed to examine if occurrence of DSP toxins in the product could be a food safety problem. The crabs were fed with mussels containing DSP toxins (2500 microg total okadaic acid equivalents/kg) for 17 days and then fasted for 19 days. The content of total okadaic acid equivalents in the digestive organs was on average 27 times higher than the corresponding content in the body meat. The highest level of total okadaic acid equivalents measured was 12 microg/kg in body meat and 503 microg/kg in digestive organs. The results show that the content of DSP toxins in a commercial product of soft shell European green crab (without digestive organs) could be regarded as negligible.
The levels of aluminium have been determined in a number of individual foodstuffs on the Swedish market and in 24 h duplicate diets collected by women living in the Stockholm area. The results show that the levels in most foods are very low and that the level in vegetables can vary by a factor 10. Beverages from aluminium cans were found to have aluminium levels not markedly different from those in glass bottles. Based on the results of the analysis of individual foods, the average Swedish daily diet was calculated to contain about 0.6 mg aluminium, whereas the mean content of the collected duplicate diets was 13 mg. A cake made from a mix containing aluminium phosphate in the baking soda was identified as the most important contributor of aluminium to the duplicate diets. Tea and aluminium utensils were estimated to increase the aluminium content of the diets by approximately 4 and 2 mg/day, respectively. The results also indicate that a considerable amount of aluminium must be introduced from other sources.
The performance characteristics of AOAC Official Method 2011.02 (the PCOX method) as a replacement for the AOAC mouse bioassay procedure have been well defined by validation studies, but these data do not communicate the complete story. The context provided by analyzing 9000 regulatory monitoring samples over 3 years demonstrates not only the reduction in animal use but also the increase in food safety that has been realized using a chemistry-based method. Detection of lower toxin levels provided early warning to enable directed sampling as toxin levels increased. The toxin profile information generated by a chemistry-based method was used to detect potential interferences qualitatively and can be used to assess the impact of changes recommended to monitoring programs. Such changes might include which toxins should be included in an action limit or the toxic equivalence factors used for these toxins.
Norovirus causes large outbreaks involving all age groups and are considered the most common cause of infectious foodborne diseases worldwide. The aim of this study was to describe a norovirus outbreak connected to insufficient heat treatment during preparation of a shellfish soup in serving portions, during a company Christmas celebration in Norway, December 2013. A questionnaire sent to the employees, showed that 67 % (n = 43) of the celebration participants, reported gastrointestinal symptoms including stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and light fever in the period between 24 and 48 h post celebration. Several dishes were served, including shellfish soup made with carpet shell clams (Tapes rhomboides) in porcelain cups. Consuming this soup, was the only significant risk factor for infection. Norovirus GI and GII were detected in the remaining raw shellfish. To mimic the time and temperature obtained during bivalve soup preparation, raw chopped shellfish tissue and raw cepa onion were added in porcelain cups tempered to 20 °C. To each of these cups, boiling soup base was added. The temperature in the shellfish tissue was continuously recorded, and showed a maximum of 49 °C in the period between 3 and 7 min after adding the boiling soup base. After 1 h the temperature was 30 °C. This time and temperature combination was obviously not sufficient for inactivation of norovirus present in the shellfish tissue. In conclusion, the heat-absorbing capacity of cold ingredients, utensils and table wear porcelain should not be underestimated during food production. Consumers who want to avoid eating raw shellfish, should not assume that the shellfish tissue in preparation as described in our study is adequately heat treated.
Health effects of non-occupational lifetime exposure to cadmium (Cd) are of growing concern worldwide. This overview provides some context for the current situation in coastal British Columbia, Canada, which arose in 1999 from the discovery of problematic residues of Cd in farmed Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas). Efforts are underway to define Cd sources and the geographical and seasonal variation of these Cd residues. The recent application by the European Community of a 1 microg Cd/g (wet weight) import limit to bivalve molluscs and the current deliberation by CODEX to adopt the same value, pose significant threats to the shellfish export trade in the Pacific Northwest (British Columbia, Washington and Alaska), where natural oceanographic conditions and coastal geology contribute to levels of Cd that usually exceed the 1 ppm limit. Human health aspects of chronic Cd exposure comprise an active field of study (this Symposium) and the validity of existing Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake is being questioned. Bioavailability of Cd from the oyster and scallop matrix is unknown and requires study. Ramifications of this uncertainty may include damage to public perception of the safety of the cultured shellfish product, loss of export market and general undermining of an industry being encouraged by both the Province of British Columbia and Federal aquaculture initiatives. There is therefore a pressing need to redefine what the "safe" limit of lifetime Cd intake is from all sources, and determine bioavailability, specifically from bivalve molluscs. Such information would facilitate the definition of scientifically defensible Cd limits by CODEX.
The aim of this study was to evaluate mercury and selenium distribution in different portions (exoskeleton, white meat and brown meat) of Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus). Some samples were also analysed as whole specimens. The same portions were also examined after boiling, in order to observe if this cooking practice could affect mercury and selenium concentrations. The highest mercury concentrations were detected in white meat, exceeding in all cases the maximum levels established by European legislation. The brown meat reported the highest selenium concentrations. In all boiled samples, mercury levels showed a statistically significant increase compared to raw portions. On the contrary, selenium concentrations detected in boiled samples of white meat, brown meat and whole specimen showed a statistically significant decrease compared to the corresponding raw samples. These results indicate that boiling modifies mercury and selenium concentrations. The high mercury levels detected represent a possible risk for consumers, and the publication and diffusion of specific advisories concerning seafood consumption is recommended.
Mussels sampled in the spring of 2002 and 2003 from Skjer, a location in Sognefjord, Norway, tested positive in the mouse bioassay for lipophilic toxins. The symptoms, which included cramps, jumping, and short survival times (as low as 4 min), were not characteristic of toxins previously observed in Norway. A survey of the algae present at the aquaculture sites showed that the toxicity correlated with blooms of Alexandrium ostenfeldii. Up to 2200 cells/L were found at the peak of one bloom. In Canadian waters, this alga is known to be a producer of the cyclic imine toxins, spirolides. Analysis of mussel extracts from Skjer in the spring of 2002 and 2003, using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, revealed the presence of several new spirolides. The same compounds were also found in algal samples dominated by A. ostenfeldii, which had been sampled from Skjer in February 2003. A large-scale extraction of mussel digestive glands and chromatographic fractionation of the extracts allowed the isolation and structure elucidation of the main spirolide, 20-methyl spirolide G, with a molecular weight of 705.5. This is the first confirmed occurrence of spirolides in mussels and plankton from Norway.
In 2002 several hundred people were taken ill after eating self-harvested brown crabs (Cancer pagurus) in the southern part of Norway. The symptoms were similar to diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) although with a somewhat delayed onset. This happened at the same time as an unusual early bloom of Dinophysis acuta had lead to high amounts of DSP toxins in blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) in the same area. The proposed cause of the intoxication was that crabs had accumulated toxins by eating blue mussels. Analyses of crab material from the area revealed very little free toxin in the form of okadaic acid (OA). However, after alkaline hydrolysis of the material, the amounts of OA found in the crabs were above the toxic level. MS/MS analysis of a sample from one intoxication episode indicated presence of the 14:0, 16:1, 16:0 and 18:1 fatty acid esters of okadaic acid. Esterified OA constituted more than 90% of total identified DSP toxins in crabs, indicating that not only esterified toxin from mussels was accumulated, but also that appreciable transfer of OA to OA-esters occurred in the crabs.
Until recently, little focus was given to the presence of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) toxin esters in seafood products. However, during the last few years, the occurrence of a high percentage of esters of the total amount of DSP toxins present in some seafood products has been observed. Samples of Danish surf clams (Spisola spp.) and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) from 1999-2004 were analysed by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) for the presence of DSP toxin esters. The samples contained only okadaic acid and esters of okadaic acid. The level of total okadaic acid equivalents ranged from 224 to 2516 microg kg-1 in surf clams. The percentage of okadaic acid esters of the total okadaic acid equivalents ranged from 83 to 98%, mean 95%. The level of total okadaic acid equivalents ranged from 43 to 1631 microg kg-1 in blue mussels. The percentage of okadaic acid esters of the total okadaic acid equivalents ranged from 21 to 86%, mean 59%. The probability of a high percentage of okadaic acid esters seems to increase with higher amounts of total okadaic acid equivalents in the bivalves. The large prevalence of DSP toxin esters are of particular importance because of the increased use of chemical methods instead of mouse bioassay for the detection of DSP toxicity.