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Shellfish Clinical Branch

Shellfish and Shellfish Growing Waters Section

The laboratory provides support to the ADPH Seafood Branch in monitoring and testing shellfish growing waters. When necessary, product meats are analyzed in accordance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) protocols.  Phytoplankton monitoring of shellfish growing waters is conducted for the NSSP as well as county and state agencies in the investigation of harmful algal events in Alabama marine and estuarine waters. The laboratory uses microscopy to identify and enumerate dinoflagellates, many diatoms, flagellates, and some cyanobacteria.  Growing area waters are tested for fecal coliform using the Most Probable Number (MPN) method. Meats are analyzed for fecal coliform and Escherichia coli (E. coli) using the MPN method and the aerobic plate count for total bacterial quality.

Crabmeat Testing Section

The Mobile Laboratory supports the ADPH Seafood Branch in crabmeat quality testing.  As part of the BCL’s ISO 17025 accreditation effort, crabmeats are tested for Escherichia coli and Listeria and reported to a national database (eLEXNET).

BEACH Testing Section

Alabama beaches that fall under the Clean Water Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act program are tested for enterococci using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 1600. Beach waters are tested twice a week during the swimming months (May-September). Results of the test are reported to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Visit the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) website for more information about this program including the current beach conditions.  Phytoplankton monitoring may also be incorporated into the reporting effort if a bloom has a health concern for beachgoers.

Harmful Algal Blooms


Page last updated: June 1, 2023