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Toxic Shellfish Warning Extended

Toxic Shellfish Warning Extended

As a result of follow up testing, people are now advised to avoid collecting or eating shellfish from the wider Coromandel and Bay of Plenty coastline from Tairua (including Tairua Harbour) south including Whiritoa, Whangamata, Onemana, and east along the Bay of Plenty coastline (including Tauranga and Ohiwa Harbours) to the mouth of the Motu River in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Included are all inshore islands within the above area.

“Further sampling unfortunately confirms high levels of paralytic shellfish poison along this extended stretch of coast. The levels of toxin are particularly high and we strongly urge people to avoid all shellfish from this area till further notice,” says Toi Te Ora - Public Health, Medical Officer of Health, Dr Phil Shoemack.

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.

Consumption of shellfish affected by the paralytic shellfish toxin can cause 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 usually occur within 12 hours of a person consuming affected shellfish.

Anyone suffering illness after eating shellfish should seek medical attention.

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 and the Waikato Public Health Unit will continue to 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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