Warning over unsafe Mahurangi Harbour shellfish

  • 03/06/2016
Warning over unsafe Mahurangi Harbour shellfish

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is warning the public not to collect or consume shellfish from the entrance of Mahurangi Harbour due to toxicity.

Routine tests taken from Cudlip Point down to Toroa Point, just south of Whangaparaoa Peninsula, reveal shellfish show levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning above the safe limit.

MPI says shellfish should not exceed a toxicity of 0.8mg/kg for human consumption, and the shellfish in this region are registering 1.0mg/kg.

They say anyone eating shellfish from this region is at risk of illness. Cooking does not remove the toxin.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

Pāua, 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 from eating contaminated seafood usually appear between 10 minutes and three hours after eating. They can include:

MPI will continue to monitor the toxin levels in the area. They say commercially harvested shellfish is subject to strict testing and are safe to eat.

If you or someone you know becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued, phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek medical attention immediately. You are also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.