Every year in France, food poisoning incidents connected with eating shellfish are reported to the health authorities. These may be isolated cases, or may concern several persons, in which case they are known as collective foodborne illnesses.
In France, the monitoring of collective foodborne illnesses is coordinated by the national agency for public health, Santé Publique France , through the compulsory reporting of food poisoning events by doctors to the health authorities and data from the national reference centre for salmonellae, the latter being one of the most common bacteria families behind foodborne illnesses.
Collective foodborne illnesses – in particularly those occurring in families – remain largely unreported to doctors, as in most cases the symptoms are relatively benign and disappear quickly.
In France, it is estimated that 5% of collective foodborne illnesses are connected with the consumption of shellfish. Most cases are linked to viruses or toxic phytoplankton.