PROFESSOR ANDREW JEFFS
To ensure that mussels don’t contain toxins there's an incredibly strict monitoring programme in place that took a number of years to develop. There’s a number of aspects to it. One is those tiny floating plants in the water that produce toxins. We know what they are, so you can sample the water and have a look for those to see whether they’re present.
There’s also a rigorous testing programme with the mussels themselves. Before they can be sent off to market, they have to be tested to make sure they don’t contain any of the toxins.
So it’s a two-part process – one gives you an early warning sign, the other one guarantees human food safety that mussels that are going to cause human health issues aren’t being sent to market, and that’s absolutely critical in terms of having an industry that people can trust.
Paul McNabb, Cawthron Institute.
Professor Andrew Jeffs – Leigh Marine Laboratory, Auckland University.