§ Andrew George
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to manage amnesic shellfish poisoning in scallops; and what recent discussions she has had and what representations she has received on management of amnesic shellfish poisoning in scallops. 
§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 20 January 2003]I have been asked to reply.
European Union legislation lays down the health conditions for harvesting and placing on the market of live bivalve molluscs and requires monitoring for biotoxins, including amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). If statutory monitoring reveals that the maximum permissible ASP toxin level in the whole animal has been exceeded, the production or relaying area concerned must be closed until the situation has returned to normal. The Food Standards Agency, the United Kingdom competent authority responsible for shellfish issues, has received a number of representations on the management of ASP in scallops. They are currently considering the adoption of an optional derogation in EU law that would provide for a tiered approach to the testing of ASP toxins.