april 2014 - Food Safety Authority Shellfish waters

The new shellfish water classifications for Scotland have now been published, on the 2nd April 2014

They can be downloaded here, or you can visit the FSAS website to see the data via this link :
http://multimedia.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/enforcement/shellfish-monitoring/shell-class-scot-1415.pdf

The FSAS has published a guidance document, which alows members to submit their own sample results, and these can be used in future classification reviews, BUT it is necessary for the harvester to register with the Food Standards Agency first, and agree the sampling protocol. This is a good thing for farmers, and if any member would want to sign up for this, they should read the guidance document, by downloading the .pdf here, or by following this link:
http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/protocolecoliresultsmar12.pdf

Jennifer Howie from the FSAS said,
"We would encourage all businesses to sign up to the harvesters own results protocol – this is an agreed MOU between ourselves and the ASSG to sampling at an agreed frequency, with sampling officer oversight, over and above the routine FSA sampling."

If any member needs advice, please do get in touch with the ASSG chairman, Nick Lake, or speak to Jennifer Howie at the contact details below:

Jennifer Howie
Head of Shellfish Unit
FSA in Scotland
25 Guild St, St Magnus House
Aberdeen AB11 6NJ
Tel: 01224 285 157
Mob: 0799 0788501

Copy of possible MOU with harvester

Memorandum of Understanding
Date
Reference No.

Memorandum of Understanding between [harvester] and the Food Standards Agency in Scotland (FSAS) (‘the parties’) relating to the provision of data for E. coli (Escherichia coli) in [species] samples taken from [Grid ref], [production area] (Local Authority).

The parties herewith enters into an agreement relating to the provision of all E. coli results for the area mentioned above according to the agreed timetable as shown in Schedule A.

The agreement covers all samples taken and/or forwarded by [company/harvester] in relation to the analysis of the aforementioned bivalve molluscs for E. coli where the results of the analysis are used in connection with the classification of the production area as established by FSAS in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 854/2004.

The Laboratory used for the analysis of these samples must be accredited in accordance with ISO 17025 to carry out the analysis for the presence of E. coli in bivalve molluscs in accordance with the methods named in food hygiene legislation. The Laboratory must agree to submit results in a format specified by the FSAS.
The Laboratory must follow the instructions, concerning the analytical methods, provided by FSAS and by the UK National Reference Laboratory for Monitoring Bacteriological and Viral Contamination of Bivalve Molluscs.

The harvester must ensure that samples of bivalve molluscs are gathered and transported in accordance with requirements provided by the FSAS sampling protocol. The Laboratory must ensure that samples of bivalve molluscs are handled and analysed in accordance with requirements given in EU Food Hygiene legislation and the recommendations given in the FSAS and NRL protocols.

Laboratories should ensure that the analysis report provides information as to the accreditation status of the MICRO Laboratory, (meaning the seal of the accreditation body and the accreditation number), and reference to the analytical method used.

This agreement can be annulled by both parties with notice of 3 months and can be annulled with immediate effect if legislative changes result in substantial changes in the existing conditions of the agreement.

FSAS will not be responsible for any expenses connected with gathering, transporting, receiving, handling or analysing of harvester’s own samples or in the reporting of analytical results, unless otherwise specified by the FSAS in writing. These samples are monitoring samples only and should not be considered proof that any product harvested from this area is fit for human consumption. Food Business Operators are responsible for ensuring that only safe food is placed on the market.

Signed and dated by FSAS, Micro Lab, Harvester FBO, and Local Authority.

Schedule A

Timetable for E. coli sampling

The following timetable is agreed between [harvester] and the Food Standards Agency in Scotland (FSAS). The timetable will cover the classified shellfish production area of [insert]. Samples of Common Mussels bearing SIN number [insert] will be taken from the representative monitoring point at [Grid Ref] at the frequency shown below.

If for any reason a sample is not taken FSAS must be notified immediately. Failure to submit samples without sufficient reason will render the agreement null and void and the original classification will stand.

Period Sample
[insert month/week] (or by arrangement with sampling officer 7 days apart from OC sample in month) 1 sample of [species] from [Grid ref]

[insert month/week] (or by arrangement with sampling officer 7 days apart from OC sample in month)
[insert month/week] etc below -

Signed and dated by FSAS, Micro Lab, Harvester FBO, and Local Authority.