HelloFresh warns customers not to eat fish dinner after high levels of toxic histamine found

HelloFresh is urging customers not to eat one of its coconut fish dishes.
HelloFresh is urging customers not to eat one of its coconut fish dishes. Photo credit: HelloFresh

Popular meal delivery service HelloFresh is warning customers not to eat one of its dinners after high levels of histamine was found in the fish. 

In an email to customers on Monday, HelloFresh apologised for the inconvenience and urged customers not to eat the trevally included in a coconut fish dish this week. 

"Our supplier has just advised, as of Monday, November 9, 2020, there is the presence of elevated histamine levels in the "White Fish (Trevally)" that you received this week in the recipe 'Coconut Fish and Makrut Lime Sauce with Jasmine Rice and Crispy Shallots'. As a precautionary measure, we would advise you to not consume the product," the email read. 

The company promised customers a refund and provided a contact number for anyone who had already eaten the dish. 

"We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused and will be providing a refund of the cost of the ingredient. We want to assure you the safety and quality of our ingredients is our highest priority."

Numerous people commented on Newshub's Facebook page saying they ate the meal and became sick. 

One woman said her entire family became unwell after eating it.

"We ate this! And our household was unwell. They warned us at 10:30pm, well after we had had dinner." 

Another said her 11-month-old grandson got "really sick" after eating the fish. 

Another said her and her partner both got sick after eating the meal on Sunday. 

"I'm still sick and we ate it on Sunday. My partner was sick but I fed it to my kids and my mum too, just lucky they feel fine."

According to New Zealand Food Safety, histamine poisoning occurs when certain fish are not chilled adequately. This causes certain fish, including trevally, to produce histamine which is toxic. 

Common symptoms of histamine poisoning include tingling and burning around the mouth, facial flushing and diarrhoea.

Other symptoms include skin rash, nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, dizziness, palpitations, headaches, and possibly respiratory distress.

Symptoms can last for up to 12 hours but there are no long-term effects.

To avoid histamine poisoning New Zealand Food safety recommends checking which fish are most at risk, and keeping fish properly chilled until it is used. 

 A spokesperson for HelloFresh apologised and said they are working with the supplier to investigate the cause.

"We sincerely apologise for the impact the recall has had on customers. We are working closely with the supplier to investigate the root cause of the issue, and have paused the supply until the full investigation is completed."

"At HelloFresh, we are committed to providing our customers with the freshest food and quality ingredients."

The spokesperson said while only one batch of the fish was affected, the supplier issued a recall on the week's fish to ensure customer safety. 

"HelloFresh has immediately contacted all potentially affected customers directly advising them to dispose of the white fish delivered this week."

"While the number of people affected by the supplier issue is low, HelloFresh has taken these additional measures to ensure the health and safety of our customers," they said.