A warning has been issued by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today cautioning the public over consuming wild shellfish found on Ireland's shores.
The food safety agency says eating the shellfish that wash in and are found along the shores can result in food poisoning.
According to the Irish Times, about 12 individuals have fallen ill with suspected food poisoning in the last few weeks. Those suffering from sickness had consumed shellfish found along Ireland's west and southwest coastlines.
The FSAI released a statement that warned locals and vacationers over gathering shellfish along the shore, indicating the suspected illnesses have been linked to the naturally occurring algal blooms that occur. The agency noted these algal blooms can be harmful and that consumers should only purchase shellfish from reputable suppliers where the shellfish has already been checked for toxins.
Common shellfish found along the shore in this region are mussels, oysters, scallops, cockles and clams.
“Wild shellfish found along the West Coast may contain naturally occurring toxins that cannot be removed through cooking alone. Eating shellfish contaminated with these toxins can lead to people suffering nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps," said Prof Alan Reilly, Chief Executive, FSAI, in a press release dated Aug. 14. "The effects are not life-threatening but can be particularly severe for older people, young children and people who may already be ill from another medical condition."
Last month Ireland's The Journal reported the algae blooms were causing substantial harm to fish and oyster farms along the northwest coast, with losses between 20 and 80 percent.
The Marine Institute recently said the problems along the west coast have subsided, however is still causing issues.