Biotoxin levels in PD mussels drop below danger level, further testing needed before ban lifted

SEREMBAN: The level of biotoxins in mussels found in waters off Port Dickson have fallen below the danger level, says Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias.

The Negri Sembilan agriculture, food security and cost of living committee chairman said the latest tests on samples showed that the biotoxin readings have fallen to 498 parts per billion (ppb) as against the danger levels of 800ppb.

"This is the eighth time the authorities have taken samples since the ban on the harvesting and selling of mussels was enforced in Port Dickson and the results show that the biotoxin levels have dropped.

"I have asked the Fisheries Department to carry out another round of testing before any decision is made to allow breeders and fishermen to harvest mussels from the sea,"he said.

On April 4, the Fisheries Department issued a ban on the harvesting and selling of mussels in Port Dickson after lab tests showed the presence of biotoxins.

Based on lab analyses, it was proven that the mussels were contaminated by the Prorocentrum, Alexandrium and Pseudonitzschia algae species.

The authorities only came to know about the contamination after several people had to be hospitalised after consuming the mussels.

It then advised the public to refrain from eating mussels as well as lokan and lala harvested from waters off the resort town till they were certified safe to eat.

The people were, however, free to eat fish, squid, crabs and other marine produce from the area.

The department said preliminary findings revealed that the algae population had increased drastically due to the unusually hot weather.

On April 2, eight cases of food poisoning, then believed to have been caused by eating mussels, were reported in the resort town.

Two people had to be admitted into the intensive care unit of the district hospital after they experienced paralysis.

Jalaluddin expressed confidence that it was only a matter of time before the authorities lifted the ban on the harvesting and selling of mussels.

"For now, we hope all parties will continue to adhere to the ban to refrain from harvesting or eating mussels or other bivalves sourced from PD waters," he added.

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Port Dickson , Mussels , Bivalves , Biotoxin , Levels , Safe , Danger


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