Continued warning to avoid oysters from Mahurangi Harbour

Date:

Media contact: MPI media team

Telephone: 029 894 0328

Email: media@mpi.govt.nz

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) continues to warn people against eating oysters harvested from the Mahurangi Harbour north of Auckland as they may be contaminated with the gastro bug norovirus.

The Ministry says all oysters harvested from the harbour from mid-January 2017 are not safe to eat and companies who have sold or distributed the product for sale are carrying out product recalls. All companies are cooperating with MPI in managing the issue.

MPI’s Manager of the Food Compliance Service Group, Melinda Sando, says this means there should no longer be affected oysters available for sale, but there is a small concern people may have frozen products prior to the recalls taking effect. 

“Anyone who still has any of these products in their freezer should discard them.”

MPI has also put a halt on all harvesting of oysters from the harbour, which is near Warkworth north of Auckland.

Ms Sando says the Ministry was alerted to the issue by local health authorities after a number of people became ill after eating oysters from the area.

Norovirus gastroenteritis generally presents with vomiting followed by diarrhoea.

“We advise anyone who believes they are ill after eating Mahurangi oysters to see their GP if their symptoms are severe or persistent or if they are unable to keep hydrated.

People can also get information by calling the Ministry of Health’s Healthline 0800 611 116.
Ms Sando says the problem appears to be limited to a small area of the harbour around Dyers Creek.

“It is likely to be the result of a localised contamination – for example discharge from a boat or a leaking septic tank.”

MPI is continuing to investigate and in the meantime, the harbour will remain closed to oyster harvesting.

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