Can you eat collected mussels?

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Can you eat mussels you have collected? No, because consumer advocates are currently warning about the consumption of self-collected mussels.

(07/30/2010) The State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety is currently warning of eating self-collected mussels and oysters. The mussels could contain harmful and toxic substances from algae, it was said. Although there are no acute cases of poisoning, the high water temperatures lead to a rapid increase in the risk of poisoning, as it was said.

Many people are currently collecting shells on the North and Baltic Seas. And what could be more obvious than eating the fresh mussels yourself? But be careful, consumer advocates are currently urgently warning of consumption. Due to an increased algae growth due to the high water temperatures, the mussels and oysters could be contaminated with toxins from algae. Hiltrud Schrandt from the State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (Laves) in Cuxhaven said that the mussels "can contain toxic substances". If vacationers or coastal residents get hungry for mussels, the mussels should not be collected but bought. The mussels are subject to strict controls in terms of food safety and can therefore be "eaten without hesitation".

But this warning is apparently repeatedly ignored by many people. Because the consumer protection center has been asking lately whether you can eat the mussels you have collected yourself, as Hiltrud Schrandt reports. But the answer is always “no”. Because mussels use their organisms to filter the water in the sea, and algae can collect "algal toxins" that can pose an acute threat to human health. There is a widespread belief that boiling the mussels could render these poisons harmless. But that's not true, as Schrandt emphasizes: "These toxins cannot be made harmless even by cooking".

In contrast to the mussels you collect yourself, the goods on sale are subject to strict and constant control. Because the fishermen are subject to "constant self-monitoring" and consumer protection monitors this. But the supply of fresh mussels is currently rare. Traditionally, mussels are only harvested in months whose name contains an "R". "These are the months of the colder season when the risk of algae toxins is significantly lower than it is now in high summer due to the low water temperatures," explains the consumer advocate.

Toxic substances in mussels can even lead to death.
Those who still eat the mussels may even risk their own lives. Because the so-called "marine biotoxins" in mussels can cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, damage the vegetative nervous system of humans, cause paralysis and even lead to death in serious cases. So better stay away from it. (sb)

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