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West Coast Shellfish Warning Lifted

Date: Wednesday 16 January 2013

West Coast Shellfish Warning Lifted

Waikato District Health Board and Auckland Regional Public Health Service today lifted a public health warning against collecting or consuming shellfish along a section of the west coast; though the warning remains in place for the Kaipara Harbour.

The area where the health warning is being lifted is from the mouth of the Mokau River north to Maunganui Bluff (just north of Dargaville), including Kawhia, Aotea, Raglan and Manukau Harbours. However the Kaipara Harbour is still not safe for collecting shellfish.

Further sampling is being undertaken in the Kaipara Harbour and until the results are known, kina, mussels, toheroa, pipis, tuatua, oysters, cockles and scallops from the Kaipara Harbour should not be eaten.

Cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin. Paua, 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 of PSP usually occur within 12 hours of consuming shellfish and include:

· Numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities.

· Difficulties in swallowing or breathing.

· Dizziness or double vision.

· In severe cases: paralysis and respiratory failure.

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish they should contact a doctor immediately, advise their local Health Protection Unit and keep any leftover shellfish.

Regular testing of shellfish will continue to ensure that any increases in toxin levels are detected promptly.

Further information is available on the following website: http://www.foodsmart.govt.nz/food-safety/hunting-collecting-fishing/seafood-gatherers/

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