All Member States now use non-animal methods for biotoxin testing
Eurogroup for Animals and our member organisation ANDA have been in contact with Commission officials and representatives of the EU reference laboratory for biotoxins in Spain to obtain information on the status of the implementation of the alternative method for biotoxin testing. It appears that all Member States now comply with the legislation and no longer use the animal method.
All batches of shellfish for human consumption are required to be tested for the presence of marine biotoxins which are very harmful if consumed. The legislation regarding recognised testing methods for detecting marine biotoxins in live bivalve molluscs included a validated non-animal alternative method which was to be implemented and replace the animal test (mouse bioassay) by 31 December 2014.
As the deadline to comply with the legislation had passed, we were interested in the status in the Member States – as the Commission itself had not been informed of the status. A joint letter was sent out to the Reference Laboratory EU Marine Biotoxins (Spain) requesting the information. The response back was that the National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) of all the Member States had confirmed that they use only the chemical, non-animal method for analysis of lipophilic toxins, or where they themselves don’t carry out the testing, they have contracted testing to other NRLs also using the non-animal method.