Lead Scientist at The SKNBS Embarks on Journey to Learn Advanced Techniques in Identifying Toxins in Local Fish

Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNBS): In its ongoing commitment to safeguarding the quality of food consumed by our citizens, Ms. Clilia Davis, a leading scientist heading the Department of Food Toxins Analysis at the St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS), has embarked on a month-long trip to the University of South Alabama to learn advanced techniques in identifying Ciguatera toxin in fish.

The initiative comes as the Bureau seeks to enhance its capabilities in detecting and mitigating potential risks to consumer health. As part of this endeavour, 150 pounds of various fish species were collected from different sampling points across the federation. These samples were then shipped to the university, where thorough analysis will be conducted to ascertain the presence of toxins.

Director of the Bureau, Mr. Stuart LaPlace underscored the bureau’s unwavering dedication to ensuring the safety of food and water supplies.

“The Bureau remains committed to ensuring that our food and water remain safe to consume,” stated Mr. LaPlace. He further highlighted the collaborative efforts initiated in 2021 with the University of South Alabama and Gulf University in Florida. These efforts involved reciprocal visits between the universities and the federation to establish partnerships with the Bureau’s Lab.

The investigation into Ciguatera toxin has revealed its origin in an algae species known as gamberdiscus. This algae stores the toxin, which is subsequently consumed by fish, posing a potential threat to consumers. In response, plans are underway to support local fisheries in both islands to map the distribution of the algae and screen fish caught in those areas.

Ms. Davis’ training at the University of South Alabama marks a significant milestone for the Bureau of Standards. She becomes the second staff member to receive specialised training in this critical area. The bureau remains committed to the professional development of its personnel, aiming to bolster its capacity to address local and international needs effectively.

As food and water safety concerns persist globally, the Bureau of Standards’ proactive measures underscore its pivotal role in safeguarding our citizens in St. Kitts and Nevis. Through continuous innovation and collaboration, the Bureau endeavours to stay at the forefront of food and water safety standards, ensuring the well-being of all citizens.

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