Not safe to eat the shell­fish

North Taranaki Midweek - - GARDENING - TARA SHASKEY

A pub­lic health warn­ing has been is­sued for shell­fish col­lected across much of the Taranaki coast­line.

The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI) is­sued a warn­ing on Fri­day ad­vis­ing peo­ple to avoid eat­ing shell­fish gath­ered be­tween Oa¯kura, north Taranaki, and Awakino.

Any­one who con­sumes kina, mus­sels, oys­ters, tu­atua, pipi, to­heroa, cock­les, scal­lops and cat­seyes from the area risks be­com­ing sick.

Rou­tine tests on shell­fish sam­ples taken from the re­gion have shown lev­els of Par­a­lytic Shell­fish Poi­son­ing (PSP) tox­ins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI.

The alert cov­ers most of the north Taranaki coast­line and in­cludes pop­u­lar gath­er­ing spots in New Ply­mouth, Waitara and Oa¯ kura.

PSP is a se­ri­ous ill­ness caused by eat­ing shell­fish con­tam­i­nated with di­noflag­el­late al­gae that pro­duce harm­ful tox­ins.

Cook­ing the shell­fish does not re­move the toxin.

Pa¯ ua, 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, MPI said.

Symp­toms typ­i­cally ap­pear be­tween 10 min­utes and three hours af­ter eat­ing and could in­clude numb­ness and a tin­gling around the mouth, face, and hands and feet.

It could also cause dif­fi­culty swal­low­ing or breath­ing, dizzi­ness, headaches, nau­sea, vom­it­ing, di­ar­rhoea, paral­y­sis and res­pi­ra­tory fail­ure and in se­vere cases, death.

Mon­i­tor­ing of toxin lev­els would con­tinue.

Shell­fish har­vested for sale in shops and su­per­mar­kets, or ex­ported, were sub­ject to wa­ter and flesh mon­i­tor­ing pro­grammes by MPI to en­sure they were safe to eat.

MPI has ad­vised if any­one be­comes sick af­ter eat­ing shell­fish from the af­fected area to phone Health­line for ad­vice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion im­me­di­ately.

It also said to con­tact your near­est pub­lic health unit and keep any left­over shell­fish in case it can be tested.

MAR­ION VAN DIJK/STUFF

A health warn­ing has been is­sued for peo­ple col­lect­ing shell­fish across much of Taranaki’s coast­line.

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