Toxicological requirements for risk assessment of shellfish contaminants: a review

  • R Munday
Keywords: acute toxicity, gymnodimine, palytoxin, risk assessment, shellfish contaminants, toxicology


There is increasing concern by consumers with regard to the health aspects and safety of foodstuffs. Most food additives and contaminants are controlled by regulatory authorities, with Acceptable Daily Intakes (ADIs) having been set on the basis of detailed acute short- and long-term toxicological studies. The situation with shellfish contaminants is rather different, because toxicological information is largely confined to acute toxicity. Furthermore, acute toxicity studies have often involved intraperitoneal injection of shellfish
extracts, which is not an appropriate route of administration
for food contaminants. The acute toxicities of certain toxins differ greatly with route of administration, with toxicity increasing in the order injection >
gavage > feeding, and it is argued that the last-named route is most pertinent to the human situation. A reexamination of the acute toxicity of shellfish contaminants is required, together with short- and long-term
feeding studies. In this way, ADIs of such materials can be determined, with concurrent benefits to consumers and to the shellfish industry.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X