Public health warning extended - Marine biotoxin in shellfish

Date:

Media contact: MPI media team

Telephone: 029 894 0328

Email: media@mpi.govt.nz

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today extended the public health warning advising the public not to collect or consume shellfish harvested between Akaroa Head and Gore Bay. The warning has been extended northwards from Motunau Beach following further testing.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from the region have shown levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.16 mg/kg set by MPI.  Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten. Note, cooking shellfish does NOT remove the toxin.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.

Symptoms typically appear within half an hour of ingestion and last for about 24 hours. Symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek medical attention immediately. You are also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.

Monitoring of toxin levels will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly.

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