University Of Tasmania

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Rock lobster hepatopancreas consumption data for dietary exposure assessment among recreational harvesters in Tasmania and South Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 15:11 authored by Madigan, T, Alison TurnbullAlison Turnbull, Tan, J, Pearn, R, McLeod, C

In 2012 and 2015, blooms of Alexandrium tamarense occurred in Tasmania, Australia, and paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) were identified in the hepatopancreas of Southern Rock Lobsters. The human health risk was unclear, because consumption data were not available for lobster hepatopancreas. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the types of lobster tissues consumed, hepatopancreas portion size, and consumption format (boiled, steamed, raw, etc.), for Tasmanian and South Australian recreational harvesters.

A significant proportion of harvesters (15%) eat lobster hepatopancreas, with the majority consuming it as a dipping sauce for cooked (boiled or steamed) lobster meat. Two different methods were used to estimate portion size, a recollection-based food consumption questionnaire (FCQ) and a prospective Food Diary – mean portion size estimates showed good agreement: 3.4 g and 4.8 g, respectively. These results are critical for assessing the exposure of recreational harvesters to acute contaminants, such as PST, in lobster hepatopancreas. Results from the FCQ showed that lobster hepatopancreas is not consumed as often as white meat, suggesting that exposure to contaminants in hepatopancreas may be less frequent than white meat. This should be considered when evaluating human health risk from repeated or long term (chronic) exposure to contaminants in lobsters.


Publication title

Human and Ecological Risk Assessment










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


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Socio-economic Objectives

Wild caught rock lobster