About a dozen people have become ill with suspected food poisoning in recent weeks after gathering mussels and other shellfish from the shoreline in parts of the west and southwest coast.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) warned locals and holidaymakers visiting these areas of dangers of gathering and consuming wild shellfish growing on the seashore.
It said there had been over 10 reports of illness in Galway, Mayo and Sligo in the past number of weeks. It suspects the reports are linked to harmful algal blooms occurring naturally along these parts of the coast.
Bi-valve shellfish such as mussels, oysters, scallops, cockles and clams should only be purchased from reputable suppliers and not gathered in the wild, the authority said.
'Commercial producers of shellfish operate under a sophisticated national monitoring programme which manages the risks, with test results issued by the Marine Institute on an ongoing basis and a weekly status report is provided for bays where commercial harvesting of shellfish has been suspended because of high biotoxin levels.'
It said that if people gathered their own shellfish, they needed to be aware of the risks they were taking.
viaPublic warned on shellfish poisoning - The Irish Times; August 14, 2012.