FSA ends animal testing in shellfish programme

LCGC Europe eNews

LCGC Europe eNews-06-08-2012, Volume 0, Issue 0

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) (London, UK) has announced that it has ended the practice of using mice for the detection of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and lipophilic toxins in commercially harvested shellfish.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) (London, UK) has announced that it has ended the practice of using mice for the detection of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and lipophilic toxins in commercially harvested shellfish.

The phasing out of animal testing in the shellfish monitoring programme has been a long-term goal of the FSA and they have been working alongside Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) to develop alternative testing methods that do not rely on mice. The previous approach has been replaced by methods based on high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and liquid chromatographic–mass spectrometric (LC–MS) tests.

Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at the FSA, said, “This is a significant milestone in meeting the UK’s commitment to reduce the burden of animal testing. PSP and lipophilic toxins can cause severe illness if people consume them, so it is important that our shellfish monitoring programme is as effective as possible at detecting them. In order to meet our commitment, we have had to ensure suitable alternative methods are introduced in all our statutory biotoxin testing.”

David Lees, head of the food safety group at Cefas, said, “We are proud to be one of the first laboratories worldwide to have implemented non-animal methods for government algal toxin testing programmes. A considerable bonus has been that the modern analytical techniques we have now implemented give significant improvements in test performance.”

For more information please visit ref="https://www.food.gov.uk">www.food.gov.uk