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Toxic shellfish warning lifted for the Bay of Plenty

MEDIA RELEASE 16 August 2011

Toxic shellfish warning lifted for the Bay of Plenty

A health warning advising against the collection and consumption of shellfish along the coastline from Mount Maunganui to the Whakatane Heads in the Eastern Bay of Plenty was issued in May 2011. This warning has now been lifted.

Shellfish monitoring and sampling indicate that the levels of shellfish toxin are now within safe limits for all of the Bay of Plenty coastline.

“We know the shellfish warning has been an inconvenience, and we would like to thank the public for their patience and co-operation over the last few months,” says Dr Neil de Wet, Medical Officer of Health.

“Although paralytic shellfish toxin is now currently not a concern when shellfish gathering, people still need to be cautious when deciding where to gather shellfish and when preparing shellfish for consumption,” says Dr de Wet. “It is generally not advisable to collect and eat shellfish from beaches and harbours next to built up urban areas or near storm water pipes as these are at more risk of being contaminated by viruses and bacteria”. Proper handling, storage and cooking of shellfish can further lower the risk of illness from viruses and bacteria. Visit the New Zealand Food Safety Authority website for more information - www.foodsmart.govt.nz.

For advice and updates on health warnings regarding shellfish collecting, contact your local Health Protection Officer on 0800 221 555 then select option 7 or visit our website - www.toiteorapublichealth.govt.nz.


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