Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning

Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 12th June 2003.

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Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party 2:30 pm, 12th June 2003

To ask the Scottish Executive how many deaths have been caused since 1999 by (a) lung cancer, (b) road traffic incidents and (c) amnesic shellfish poisoning. (S2O-138)

Photo of Tom McCabe Tom McCabe Labour

Tragically, during the period 1999-2000, 15,850 deaths were recorded from lung cancer; 1,287 were recorded as the result of road traffic accidents; and no deaths were recorded as a result of amnesic shellfish poisoning.

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

We are all aware of the essential need to protect public health. Those statistics show that there is no real risk of death from amnesic shellfish poisoning. There is certainly no case for the even tighter testing regime that is being proposed. Does the minister agree that the view of the scallop fishing industry is that it would have no future if we were to adopt a new, tighter testing regime, and that we would lose a proud, sustainable and successful Scottish industry for no good reason?

Photo of Tom McCabe Tom McCabe Labour

The statistics do not show that. I think that everyone in the chamber would agree with me and would struggle to see the relevance of an analogy between deaths from lung cancer and deaths from amnesic shellfish poisoning. I only wish that we had been blessed with the foresight and the science that would have given us the same success in preventing deaths from lung cancer that we have had in preventing deaths from amnesic shellfish poisoning.