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Toxic shellfish found along Bay of Plenty coast

MEDIA RELEASE 17 DECEMBER 2008


Toxic shellfish found along Bay of Plenty coastline

People are advised not to collect or eat shellfish from beaches and river mouths from Mount Maunganui to the Rangitaiki River until further notice.
This advice results from high levels of paralytic shellfish poison being detected from water samples taken in this area.

The health warning affects all bi-valve shellfish including mussels, pipi, tuatua, cockles, oysters, scallops, catseyes and kina (sea urchin). Paua, crayfish and crabs can still be taken but as always, the gut should be removed before cooking.

“We’re asking people not to eat the gut and skirt of scallops, even when these shellfish come from sites where there are no biotoxin warning signs in place,” says Toi Te Ora - Public Health, Medical Officer of Health, Dr Phil Shoemack.

Symptoms of toxic poisoning include numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities; difficulty swallowing or breathing; dizziness; double vision; and in severe cases, paralysis and respiratory failure. These symptoms occur within 12 hours of a person consuming affected shellfish.

Anyone suffering illness after eating shellfish should contact their doctor.

New Zealand Food Safety Authority is responsible for monitoring both shellfish and water for toxins in shellfish throughout New Zealand. Toi Te Ora - Public Health update the public when results from the sampling confirm changes to the affected area.

Information about health warnings will be posted on www.nzfsa.govt.nz

ENDS

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