The Marine Institute recently (8th September 2009) hosted the final workshop for the three year SPIES DETOX project at its headquarters in Rinville, Galway where results were presented highlighting methods in mitigating economically damaging harmful algal events in aquaculture and shellfish harvesting areas.
Additionally, a two-day training workshop was held in the National University of Ireland, Galway focusing on the hands-on training of rapid testing kits for the determination and quantification of naturally occurring contaminants that are analysed before shellfish are harvested. This training was attended by representatives from industry, academic and regulatory authorities.
Joe Silke of the Marine Institute thanked those who participated and attended the workshop, stating that the development of such kits and their use on the frontline at shellfish farms or in processing factories will help to ensure that only shellfish of the highest quality go to market. “As an additional step to the existing controls that are already in place, these new test kits add an extra layer of food safety and quality control, improving the already excellent quality of our shellfish,” he said.
The SPIES DETOX Project was supported and funded by the 6th Framework Programme, which finished in 2009. The project partners included representatives from academic institutions and industry organisations from UK, Ireland, Spain, Norway & Greece. Bringing partners from the shellfish industry, regulatory authorities and scientists together, the SPIES DETOX project formed a unique group with the aim to develop ‘early warning’ tools for the detection of toxins and toxic algae before shellfish become contaminated. A second objective was to develop procedures, for use by industry, to remove algal toxins from contaminated shellfish to obtain a marketable product following a toxic algal event. End user sessions were held by the project partners to give an opportunity for shellfish farmers and processors to get hands-on experience and training in the use of these detection kits.
Further information on the project and its results are available from the project. See the website: http://www.spies-detox.eu/