Thousands of portions of fresh mussels selling in multiple retailers across the State have been found to contain more than three times the legally permitted level of certain naturally occurring toxins, prompting a nationwide recall.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued an alert after two tonnes of mussels harvested from Roaringwater Bay in west Cork on Monday and Tuesday of this week were found to contain diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) toxins at excess levels.
The naturally occurring toxins are found in certain plankton which mussels feed upon.
Normally an extensive monitoring system catches the toxins before contaminated shellfish enters the supply chain, but on this occasion the fresh mussels made it to multiple retailers - including some Dunnes Stores and Supervalu outlets - and were on sale from Wednesday of this week.
The mussels were sold loose and in bags at fresh fish counters in some retail outlets.
Check with stores
The implicated mussels have been removed from sale and the FSAI has warned consumers who may have bought the mussels to check with the store where they purchased them and not to eat them if they are implicated in this recall.
"Cooking does not destroy this toxin," chief executive of the FSAI Dr Pamela Byrne said. "It is important that consumers who may have bought the implicated mussels not to consume them."
She said eating the contaminated mussels could cause DSP - the symptoms of which are diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, which can start between 30 minutes to a few hours after ingestion.
Seek medical advice
“Complete recovery occurs within a number of days. Consumers who may have already consumed this product and are feeling unwell should seek medical advice,” she said.
Roaringwater Bay, where the contaminated shellfish were harvested, remains closed for such harvesting and will have to pass two clear tests, one week apart, before the process can resume.
The implicated mussels were available for sale loose from some Dunnes Stores outlets and had a use-by date of 21.08.2015. They were also sold in some SuperValu outlets with a use-by date of 22.08.2015.
Other shops where the mussels had been selling were: Beshoff's, West Pier, Howth; Doran's, West Pier, Howth; Kish Fish, Malahide Road, Coolock; Kish Fish, Bow Street, Smithfield; Morgan's Fine Fish, Omeath, Co Louth; Glenmar, Union Hall, Co Cork; Normandy Ireland, Schull; Baltimore Fresh Fish, Baltimore, Co Cork; O'Driscoll's, Schull, Co Cork; Bantry Central Fish, Bantry, Co Cork; J&C Fish, Dundalk; Keoghs Fish Shop, New Quay, Clonmel; Seacatch Retail Fish Stand, Carrickmacross and Morgans Fish Stand, Park Street, Dundalk.