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France warned over seaside shellfish dangers

Holidaymakers in France are being warned over picking up their own shellfish and seafood from the seaside with a view to eating it later, as the risk of poisoning may be high.

The ministry for Agriculture has recommended several precautions to take for those who intend to pick up shells and shellfish for their own consumption.

In the case of some shellfish - including mussels, oysters, cockles and clams - certain pathogens may be present in the water and the surrounding sand, it said, which can cause severe problems for human health if ingested.

Problematic symptoms may be similar to a stomach bug, including loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, nausea, headaches and fever; or may also affect the nervous system, including confusion, dizziness, swelling of the hands and feet, and lack of motor coordination.


The ministry advice includes:

  • Only pick up from areas far away from ports and anchoring zones
  • Avoid fishing or picking in the days immediately after heavy rain
  • After picking, keep the shellfish cold
  • Only keep living shellfish, and wash them thoroughly before cooking
  • After cooking, when applicable only keep shellfish whose shells have opened during cooking
  • Keep consumption limited among vulnerable people, including children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those in a fragile state or with lowered immune systems

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