Category Archives: Algal Toxin

Research – New file of the Map of dangers on the ciguatera

ACSA

In the Hazard Map database we have added in the group of chemical hazards, such as marine toxins, the ciguatera.

Fish poisoning called ciguatera or ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) occurs because they have ingested a large amount of ciguatoxin-producing algae: these are benthic dinoflagellates of the genus Gambierdiscus spp .

Cytokines (CTXs) accumulate in the fish that ingest them directly (rockfish) or in their predators, where this accumulation reaches higher levels.

New Zealand – Shellfish biotoxin alert – Northland west coast

MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries today issued a public health warning against collecting shellfish on the Northland west coast from Waipapakauri on 90 Mile Beach, south to Pouto Point on the northern head of the Kaipara Harbour. This includes the Herekino, Whangape and Hokianga Harbours. Warning signs will be posted in the coming days.

Another warning remains in place for the west coast of the North Island – from South Head (Manukau Harbour entrance) to Tirua Point (south of Kawhia).

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from these regions have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

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

Note, cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

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 typically appear between 10 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion and may include:

  • numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face, and extremities (hands and feet)
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • paralysis and respiratory failure and in severe cases, death.

If anyone 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.

Monitoring of toxin levels will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly. Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – is subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat.

MPI Alerts

Caribbean – CPS reports cases of fish poisoning

The Daily Herald

PHILIPSBURG–The Collective Prevention Service (CPS), as a public health agency, is advising the public to pay attention to proper food handling procedures when preparing meals.

CPS said the department had received reports of four cases of fish poisoning September 5 and 7.

“As with all reportable diseases, CPS surveillance nurses conduct case follow-up to identify the possible source(s) of exposure,” CPS said on Thursday. During the investigation, it came to light that the purchasing, storage, and preparation of the seafood played a major role in the source of food poisoning.

“CPS would like to remind persons when purchasing fish, or any type of sea food, that it is important to handle the products safely to reduce the risk of foodborne illness often called food poisoning,” said the department.

New Zealand – Shellfish biotoxin alert

MPI

ALL WARNINGS ARE UP TO DATE

Warnings are reviewed weekly following sampling results. Information on this page is then updated if needed.

If you have questions, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Current warnings

West Coast – South Head to Tirua Point (south of Kawhia) – North Island

Map showing the affected area

Previous changes
  • 2 October: Hawke’s Bay Warning removed
  • 19 August: Hawke Bay Warning extended to Young Nicks Head.
  • 12 August: NI West Coast – South Head to Tauratahi Point warning issued
  • 12 August: Port Levy warning removed.

Canada – Certain Manila clams may be unsafe due to a marine biotoxin which causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning

CFIA

Recall details

Ottawa, September 22, 2020 – Evergreen International Foodstuffs Ltd. is recalling certain Manila clams from the marketplace due to a marine biotoxin which causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

These Manila clams may also have been sold in bulk or in smaller packages with or without a label and may not bear the same brand, product name, or code as described below.

Recalled product

Brand Product Size Code
Evergreen Int’l Foodstuffs Ltd. Manila clams 25 lb. Harvest Date: Sep 16, 2020
Processing Date: Sep 17, 2020
Harvest Location: B.C. 17-20
Lot# 21057

What you should do

Check to see if you have the recalled product in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. If you are unsure of the source of the clams, check with your place of purchase.

Paralytic shellfish toxins are a group of natural toxins that sometimes accumulate in bivalve shellfish that include oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and cockles. Non-bivalve shellfish, such as whelks, can also accumulate Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins. These toxins can cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) if consumed. Symptoms of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) include tingling and numbness of the lips, tongue, hands and feet, and difficulty swallowing with an onset of a few minutes and up to 10 hours after consumption. In severe situations, this can proceed to difficulty walking, muscle paralysis, respiratory paralysis and death.

Background

This recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing the recalled product from the marketplace.

Illnesses

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Product photos

Printer ready version of photos

  • Evergreen Int'l Foodstuffs Ltd. - Manila clams

Public enquiries and media

Company information
Evergreen International Foodstuffs Ltd.: (604) 253-8835
Public enquiries
Toll-free: 1-800-442-2342 (Canada and U.S.)
Telephone: 1-613-773-2342 (local or international)
Email: cfia.enquiries-demandederenseignements.acia@canada.ca
Media relations
Telephone: 613-773-6600
Email: cfia.media.acia@canada.ca

Hong Kong – Hong Kong officials investigate two suspected ciguatoxin poisoning cases

Outbreak News Today

The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) reported Friday the investigation of two suspected ciguatoxin poisoning cases.

The cases, one male and one female, aged 9 and 16 respectively, who developed symptoms of ciguatoxin poisoning including nausea and tongue numbness about 30 minutes to one and a half hours after consuming a marine fish at a restaurant in To Kwa Wan Thursday.

Both patients are now in stable condition.

Ciguatera fish poisoning is not uncommon in tropical areas. It is mainly associated with the consumption of big coral reef fish which have accumulated the toxin in the body, particularly in internal organs, through eating small fish that consumed toxic algae in coral reef seas.

A larger fish is therefore more likely to carry higher amounts of the toxin. However, it is not easy to tell from the appearance of the fish whether it contains the toxin.

Australia – NSW Annual Food Testing Report Released

Food Safety.com

Campylobacter kswfoodworld

Every year, the New South Wales Food Authority (NSW Food Authority) releases their Annual Food Testing Report on the testing conducted by their primary testing provider and by other laboratories. This year’s report highlights some key findings with regards to food safety testing results and trends.

Testing is conducted for a variety of reasons including food-borne illness investigations, Food Safety Program verifications and other types of research. In the report, the NSW Food Authority breaks down the significant findings in each of these categories which provides important information for the Australian food industry.

Key facts from the report

The NSW Annual Food Testing Report provides the following facts for the period of July 2018 to June 2019:

  1. During this time period, there were a total of 6,431 samples submitted for testing.
  2. Sample types analysed included:
  • meat
  • seafood
  • dairy
  • plant products
  • packaged food
  • eggs
  • food from retail outlets
  • environmental samples

3. There were over 70 different types of tests performed. These included:

  • microbiological assessment
  • pH
  • water activity
  • allergens
  • additives such as preservatives

Key findings from the report

The findings listed in the report are categorized based on different programs. The following is a breakdown of some of the key findings:

Food-borne illness investigation findings

The report states that between 2018 and 2019 there were a total of 4,010 samples (food and environmental) that were submitted for testing. These samples were submitted for testing due to food-borne illness investigations and the follow-ups for these investigations.

Increase in Salmonella Enteritidis cases

The report discusses a marked increase in the cases of Salmonella Enteritidis that has been observed since the middle of 2018. The cases have now been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis that was locally acquired. This a significant difference from cases of Salmonella Enteritidis in Australia in the past, with most cases typically presenting in people who had travelled overseas.

Testing was conducted and monitoring took place to determine where the outbreak was stemming from. The investigation involved taking 2,072 samples from egg production businesses and testing eggs and environmental samples. The results from the testing showed that Salmonella Enteritidis was on 13 properties that were interconnected through people, eggs and/or equipment.

The result was six food recalls at the consumer level from properties affected in NSW, and one consumer level recall in Victoria. The report states that surveillance and monitoring of NSW egg farms is slated to continue throughout 2020.

Decrease in Listeria prevalence in melons

The melon industry in Australia, particularly the rockmelon industry, has been linked to food-borne illness outbreaks of Listeria in recent years. The report states that listeriosis cases in New South Wales has actually declined sharply as of late, which is being attributed to the improved food safety measures that have been put in place in the Australian melon industry.

During the period of November 2018 and April 2019, the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) conducted food safety training workshops for rockmelon growers in NSW. NSW DPI also conducted sampling of melon harvests and packhouse environments to make sure that melon growers were following food safety protocols.

Verification findings

Concerns about Campylobacter and Salmonella on poultry

Campylobacter and Salmonella infections are both significant health concerns for Australians. In order to monitor the prevalence of these two food-borne pathogens, the raw poultry verification program gathers ongoing data on their prevalence and levels in raw poultry.

The report states that during the period of July 2018 and June 2019, samples were taken from raw poultry including 196 from whole chickens/chicken portions from processing plants, and 312 chicken portions from retail facilities. The samples were tested for the presence of Campylobacter and Salmonella.

The results for processing plants:

Salmonella

  • detected in 21.4% of samples
  • 9.2% of samples had quantifiable levels

Campylobacter

  • detected in 86.7% of samples
  • 1.5% of samples had quantifiable levels

The results for retail facilities:

Salmonella

  • detected in 25.8% of samples
  • 1.7% of samples had quantifiable levels

Campylobacter

  • detected in 89.9% of samples
  • 6.4% of samples had quantifiable levels

Research findings

Investigating algal biotoxins in wild harvest shellfish

There are other types of food-borne pathogens that are not as well known as Listeria, Salmonella or Campylobacter. The report touches on how some algae produce toxic compounds that can then accumulate in certain types of fish, particularly filter-feeding bivalve shellfish. The concern is that the toxic compounds can be harmful to humans if they are consumed by eating the shellfish.

The NSW Food Authority conducted testing between 2018 and 2019 which involved taking samples from pipis which are a type of shellfish group. There were 76 samples taken and they were tested for three different types of algae toxin groups which were amnesic shellfish toxins, paralytic shellfish toxins and diarrhetic shellfish toxins. The results revealed that diarrhetic shellfish toxins were detected in 13 of the 76 samples.

The NSW Food Authority will continue to investigate the health concerns around algae toxins in harvest shellfish in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

New Zealand – Shellfish biotoxin alert – PSP

MPI

North Island warnings

West coast, South Head to Tirua Point (south of Kawhia)

Reason for alert Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

Date warning issued Extended on 2 September 2020

Media release

First issue: 12 August 2020

Media release

Affected area West Coast North Island – from South Head (Manukau Harbour entrance) to Tirua Point (south of Kawhia)
Shellfish affected Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish.

Note, cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

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 Symptoms typically appear between 10 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion and may include:

  • numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face, and extremities (hands and feet)
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • paralysis and respiratory failure and in severe cases, death.
Other information Paralytic shellfish toxins have been detected in shellfish at levels over the safe limit of 0.8mg/kg set by MPI. Ongoing testing will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly.

Map of affected area

Map showing the affected area

New Zealand – Shellfish biotoxin alert extended for North Island west coast, including Raglan

MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries today extended the current public health warning against collecting shellfish from the west coast of the North Island. The warning now extends from South Head (Manukau Harbour entrance) to Tirua Point (south of Kawhia Harbour).

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins have been detected in shellfish from the Kawhia Harbour above the safe limit set by MPI.

The other public health warning for Hawke’s Bay remains in place.

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

Note, cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

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 typically appear between 10 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion and may include:

  • numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face, and extremities (hands and feet)
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • paralysis and respiratory failure and in severe cases, death.

If anyone 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.

Monitoring of toxin levels will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly. Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – is subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat.

RASFF Alerts – Diarrhoeic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) – Live Mussels

European Food Alerts

RASFF

Diarrhoeic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins (sum of lipophilic toxins > 320 µg/kg – ppb) in live mussels (Mytilus Galloprovincialis) from Italy in Italy

RASFF

Diarrhoeic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins – okadaic acid (148 µg/kg – ppb) in live mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from Italy in Spain

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