Nutritious, safe and sustainable seafood for consumers of tomorrow

Nutritious, safe and sustainable seafood for consumers of tomorrow

Cefas is collaborating with seafood producers, processors and recognised research organisations across Europe on the development of solutions for improving the safety and dietary value of seafood.

Our leading role in the SEAFOODTOMORROW  project concerns the validation of strategies to help ensure that bivalve shellfish are not contaminated with viruses and marine toxins and to improve consumer confidence in shellfish products. Specifically, we will:

  • Develop mathematical models and mapping tools to predict coastal pollution events and harmful algal blooms in shellfish production areas (SPAs). Information from these models and maps will be used to develop a risk management protocol that will consider the implications of implementing safety boundaries between contaminant sources and SPAs.
  • Strategies to improve the effectiveness of depuration (placing shellfish in tanks with clean seawater to allow purging of contaminants) in removing norovirus from oysters. Experiments will be conducted to explore ways to optimise the health and fitness of the animals in shellfish depuration tanks and thus promote optimal digestion processes and contaminant elimination. This work will use environmentally contaminated oysters in both commercial and laboratory depuration systems.

The risk management protocols and procedures will be validated in collaboration with industry partners (including Westcountry Mussels of Fowey Ltd and Limosa Farms Ltd in the UK) and reported in a simple format that can be easily and quickly understood by shellfish farmers and regulators. The validation will ensure that the protocols can be used by other members of the industry thus improving the economic sustainability of shellfish farming businesses and boost consumer confidence across Europe.

Cefas will also contribute to other elements of the project, such as risk-to-benefit assessments that will evaluate the gains of the innovative solutions in terms of nutritional benefits and/or increased safety of seafood products and compare them with the corresponding “business-as-usual” products or processes.

Dr Carlos Campos, Cefas Water Quality Scientist, said “Ensuring seafood production and distribution in ways that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable is a challenge for producers, retailers, policy makers and scientists. This project will make a substantial contribution to secure long-term sustainability of seafood production and processing sectors and to guarantee high quality and safe seafood for European consumers”.

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