The liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) is the reference method for lipophilic toxins since July 2011. According to the European Commission EU 15/2011 this method has to be used as matter of routine, both for the purposes of official controls, at any stage of the food chain, and own-checks by food business operators. This legislation applies to European countries and any other exporting to Europe.
The presence of marine toxins in shellfish products could lead to fatal food poisoning. Monitoring programs to control levels of toxins establish monthly or even weekly sampling in production areas. Opening or closure of harvest areas would depend upon the results obtained. Post-harvest and end product testing is also carried out in some countries. Currently, paralytic (saxitoxins), ammesic (domoic acid) and lipophilic toxins (okadaic acid and derivatives, yessotoxins, pectenotoxins and azaspirazids) are legislated.