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Paralytic Shellfish Toxin Warning Lifted For The Coromandel And Bay Of Plenty

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Paralytic Shellfish Toxin Warning Lifted For The Coromandel And Bay Of Plenty

The toxic shellfish health warning has been lifted for the wider Coromandel and Bay of Plenty coastline, ending 15 months of concern.

The coastline for which the warning is now lifted includes Tairua (including Tairua Harbour) south including Whiritoa, Whangamata, Onemana, and east along the Bay of Plenty coastline (including Tauranga Harbour) to Rogers Road, south of Pukehina.

Routine sampling indicates that the levels of shellfish toxin are now within safe limits for all of the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty coastline.

"We know the shellfish warning has been an inconvenience, especially over the past two summer holiday periods, and we would like to thank the public for their endurance and co-operation," says Dr Jim Miller, Medical Officer of Health.

Although paralytic shellfish toxin is no longer a concern when shellfish gathering, Dr Miller wishes to remind people to exercise caution when deciding where to gather shellfish and when preparing shellfish for consumption.

Non-commercial shellfish collected from the sea and harbours are a high risk food because they tend to accumulate and concentrate in their flesh any contaminants found in the water. Bivalve shellfish (those with two shells) filter food particles from the seawater and so, for example, can accumulate viruses and bacteria from sewage overflows and farm run-off, toxins from naturally occurring algae, and chemical contaminants such as heavy metals from urban storm water run-off.

When shellfish are eaten raw or lightly cooked, bacteria and viruses won't be killed. The most effective way to ensure you don't get sick from eating shellfish is to buy them from the shop or collect them from areas where the seawater is clean and less likely to be contaminated in any way. It is generally not advisable to collect and eat shellfish from beaches and harbours next to built up urban areas. Proper handling, storage and cooking can further lower the risk of illness; visit the New Zealand Food Safety Authority website for more information (www.nzfsa.govt.nz).

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