Shellfish Testing


To assure the safety of shellfish grown in Rhode Island by testing shellfish, shellfish harvesting areas and holding facilities for microbiological and chemical contaminants.

What we do

  • Analyze water samples collected from shellfish growing areas of the Narragansett Bay and the state’s salt ponds weekly for fecal contamination.
  • Report laboratory results to the DEM shellfish program for decisions made to close shellfish harvesting areas based on high fecal coliform counts or re-open the shell fishing areas when it is safe to resume shellfish harvesting again.
  • Identify and quantify microbiological and chemical food contaminants following strict international quality standards.
  • Participate in the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN), a network of qualified laboratories that respond to food contamination threats to the national food supplies.


  • Certified by the FDA to analyze shellfish for the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) a federal/state cooperative program recognized by the FDA and the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) for the sanitary control of shellfish produced and sold for human consumption.