Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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In June 2009, 11 outbreaks of food poisoning occurred in France, involving 45 individuals who had consumed mussels harvested in Vilaine Bay (Northwestern France). Because the toxic dinoflagellate Dinophysis spp. had been detected in the area from mid-May, okadaic acid (OA) and dinophysistoxins were suspected to be the cause of these outbreaks, although the weekly monitoring tests by mouse bioassay had been negative. With the help of the French reporting system for food-borne disease outbreaks, the detailed data on epidemiology, mussel consumption and complete product traceback, were collected for 11 individuals involved in three reported outbreaks. The batch of mussels identified as the source of these three outbreaks contained concentrations of toxins of the okadaic acid group that were approximately eight times higher than the European regulatory limit. Moreover, based on the consumption data available for the 11 cases, a lowest observable adverse effects level (LOAEL) was deduced. The LOAEL calculated from this study, although based on a very limited number of individuals, was in the same range, i.e. approximately 50 ?g OA equivalents per person, as the LOAEL established by the European Food Safety Authority in 2006.


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