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Sewage spills blamed as E coli forces Cornish shellfish sites to close

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“Very high” levels of E coli found in oysters and mussels have led to the closure of 11 shellfish production zones in Cornwall.In an email seen by the Guardian and Watershed Investigations, the Cornwall Port Health Authority (CPHA) told food business operators they “must not collect the affected animals from this area by any method.

It is unsuitable for their production for health reasons and has been temporarily closed.”The main sources of faecal contamination are generally agriculture, sewage and urban pollution, according to the Environment Agency.Levels of E coli are measured per 100g of flesh.

For a shellfish area to be considered “class A”, which means no cleaning of the produce is required before sale, 80% of samples must contain less than or equal to 230 E coli bacteria/100g.

Shellfish from areas that breach this limit have to be extensively treated and the sale of those from areas where levels exceed 46,000/100g is prohibited.In the 11 closed areas around the rivers Fal, Truro and Carnon, the E coli levels reached up to 92,000/100g.

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