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State of Alaska > DEC > EH > Laboratory Services > Lab Sample Submission Manual > Marine Toxins 

Lab Sample Submission Manual:
Marine Toxins
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Clams, Oysters, Mussels, Scallops(1), Snails(2), Geoducks(3), Crabs(4)

For PSP analysis each sample must contain a minimum of 125g-150g and a minimum of 12 animals. The PSP test procedure requires a minimum 100 grams of shellfish for an official analysis. A less than 100g sample may not be used for regulatory purposes. If Domoic Acid analysis is also required an additional 75-80 grams is needed.

A full 6-ounce cup (10oz if domoic acid analysis is needed) of drained meat gives sufficient sample to retrieve 100g after processing, and in most instances, covers for any loss of liquid through leakage during transportation to the laboratory.

Preparation - Clams, Oysters, Mussels

  1. Thoroughly clean the outside of the shellfish with fresh water.
  2. Open the shell by cutting the adductor muscles. (Caution: DO NOT use heat or
    anesthetics before opening shell--product must be raw for testing.) Rinse the inside
    with fresh water to remove sand or other foreign material.
  3. Shuck the meat from the shell, being careful not to cut or damage the body of the mollusk.
  4. Without layering collect approximately 150 grams (about 6oz.) meat on a No. 10 sieve.
  5. Let drain for 5 minutes. Discard pieces of shell, and discard drained liquids.

Packaging and Shipping

  1. Place each drained sample into a heavy duty (freezer) Ziploc® type bag.
  2. Double bag the sample using another Ziploc® bag.
  3. Label each bag with Farm number, permit number, species, and lot number. Improperly marked or unmarked samples may be rejected for analysis.
  4. Complete the sample submission form for each sample type
    (Marine Toxin Submission Form)
  5. Place submission form in a separate Ziploc® bag.
  6. Freeze sample prior to packaging.
  7. Wrap samples in newspaper or other absorbent material.
  8. Place samples and submission form in a sturdy, leak-proof box. A small Coleman cooler (or equivalent) works well for this purpose. Packaging samples in envelopes or other non-sturdy, non-leak-proof containers is not acceptable (or legal!) and may result in the samples being rejected by the laboratory.
  9. Add sufficient frozen gel packs or gel ice to keep samples cool during transport. Samples received warm and/or decomposed may be rejected at EHL discretion. Decomposed samples interfere with the integrity of the analysis.
  10. Ship samples for next day delivery.

Shelfish Sample in 2x Ziploc® Submission Sorm Sealed in Ziploc®

EXAMPLE: Properly packed shellfish samples, double Ziploc® bagged and labeled. Submission form sealed in Ziploc® bag.

Shipping Notification

Ship samples via overnight mail to:

State of Alaska
Environmental Health Laboratory
5251 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99507
(907) 375-8231
ATTN: Eagle Express Courier

Contact the EHL Sample Receiving department at 907-375-8231 or via email at immediately upon shipment of samples. Please include waybill number.


1, 2, 3, 4 Contact the State of Alaska Seafood Program Manager at 269-3097 for sampling requirements for these species.

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