Food safety

Joint FAO/IOC/WHO ad hoc Expert Consultation on Biotoxins in Molluscan Bivalves, Oslo, Norway, 27 September - 1 October 2004

At its 25th session, the Codex Committee on Fish and Fishery Products (CCFFP) asked FAO and WHO to provide scientific advice on biotoxins in conjunction with its work on Proposed Draft Standards for Live and Processed Bivalve Molluscs. The CCFFP, at its 26th session, made the following specific requests to be covered through this advice:

  • Provide scientific advice to the CCFFP to enable the establishment of maximum levels in shellfish for shellfish toxins (PSP-, DSP-, ASP-, AZP- and NSP-toxins, and YTXs and PTXs);
  • Provide guidance on methods of analysis for each toxin group;
  • Provide guidance on monitoring of biotoxin-forming phytoplankton and bivalve molluscs (including sampling methodology);
  • Provide information on geographical distribution of biotoxin-forming marine phytoplankton.

In order to respond to their requests and to provide scientific advice to the next session of CCFFP in February 2005, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are planning to hold a joint expert consultation from 27 September to 1 October 2004.

To implement this programme of work, FAO, IOC and WHO are establishing ad hoc expert working groups on specific shellfish toxins in bivalve molluscs to evaluate the available information (toxicological studies, completed national risk assessments, relevant epidemiological data, prevalence data, control measures, etc.) and to prepare technical working papers for review during the joint FAO/IOC/WHO expert consultation.