Council puts ban on shellfish harvesting after discovering ‘raised levels of bacteria’ at mouth of River Nene
PUBLISHED: 16:33 27 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:33 27 February 2020
A temporary ban has been placed on shellfish harvesting across the Fens after a raised level of bacteria was discovered at the mouth of the River Nene.
Routine sampling by Fenland District Council found naturally occurring bacteria in the shellfish had increased and was likely caused by recent high rainfall.
The council has now issued a temporary closure notice of shellfish beds near the mouth of the River Nene, prohibiting the commercial harvesting of shellfish until bacterial levels return to normal.
Councillor Samantha Hoy, Fenland District Council's portfolio holder for environmental health, has spoken out about the ban.
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She said: "The council's environmental health team undertakes routine sampling of shellfish which are commercially harvested to ensure the quality of shellfish remains high.
"The prohibition is purely a precautionary measure as all cockles and mussels commercially harvested from the mouth of the River Nene are purified or heat treated prior to being sold for human consumption.
"Further sampling is being carried out and the ban will be removed once bacterial levels return to normal."
Whilst the temporary ban only applies to the commercial collection of shellfish by food business operators, the council is strongly advising members of the public not to collect and consume shellfish from the mouth of the River Nene.
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