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Biotoxins

Marine products, including fresh fish and shellfish, are increasingly important exports for many developing countries. Aquaculture is developing, expanding and intensifying in almost all regions of the world to meet an increasing global population's demands for aquatic food products. As a driver for both enhanced food security and economic development for many of the world's people, the challenge is to facilitate this growth in trade whilst protecting the health of consumers.

In 2004, through a Joint FAO/IOC/WHO Ad hoc Expert Consultation on Biotoxins in Bivalve Molluscs, AGNS provided advice to the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP) on biotoxins, in conjunction with CCFFP's work on Proposed Draft Standards for Live and Processed Bivalve Molluscs, to:

  • Enable the establishment of maximum levels in shellfish for shellfish toxins (including PSP-, DSP-, ASP-, AZP- and NSP-toxins, and YTXs and PTXs)
  • Provide guidance on methods of analysis for each toxin group
  • Provide guidance on monitoring of biotoxin-forming phytoplankton and bivalve molluscs (including sampling methodology)
  • Provide information on geographical distribution of biotoxin-forming marine phytoplankton

In addition, an extensive review and risk assessment of different aspects of marine biotoxins (including five shellfish poisoning syndromes, and one fish poisoning syndrome) was completed in 2004