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Shellfish toxin warning extended in Canty

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/11/2016

Seafood lovers should continue to avoid eating shellfish collected from the Canterbury coastline between Ashburton River mouth north to Gore Bay because of marine toxins.

The Ministry for Primary Industries on Thursday extended its public health warning after tests on shellfish samples showed levels of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning toxins above the safe limit of 0.16 mg/kg.

Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey said anyone eating shellfish from this area was potentially at risk of illness.

Symptoms of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning typically appear within half an hour and can last for 24 hours, and might include diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea and abdominal cramps.

However, paua, crab and crayfish can still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut, Dr Humphrey said.

"If the gut is not removed, its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process," he said.

Authorities first issued a warning on the shellfish on October 13. The results were detected as part of routine testing, with authorities taking shellfish and seawater samples for testing every week from popular gathering areas around the country.

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