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Evaluation of the Impact on Shellfisheries of Runoff from Land Receiving Organic Wastes

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (CEFAS)
ADAS Consulting Ltd
Start date
End date
This research project aims to evaluate the contribution of organic wastes spread on agricultural land and of sewage treatment works to the pathogenic load reaching shellfish production beds in estuaries.

The first objective of this work will be to investigate whether there is a link between the diffuse spreading of livestock wastes to land and the level of indicator bacteria (E. coli) in shellfish production areas.

The second objective of this study will be to prototype a general tool for catchment scale assessment of the relative importance of different sources of indicator bacteria with respect to the contamination of shellfish, with the potential for application to any catchment in England and Wales.

More information
Bivalve molluscan shellfish have been identified as being high-risk foods, with contamination mainly associated with human faecal contamination.

The potential contamination of food and water by human and animal faecal bacteria is assessed by the detection and enumeration of faecal indicator bacteria such as faecal coliforms (including E. coli), faecal streptococci and clostridia.

Public health controls on commercial shellfish production principally use faecal coliforms and/or E. coli to assess the degree of faecal contamination.

However, such bacteria may arise from either human or animal sources and the degree of risk, and measures for reducing contamination, may differ depending on the source.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
Bacterial Pathogens
Escherichia coli