New Zealand Food Safety has issued a public health warning advising the public not to collect or consume shellfish harvested from the Raglan coastline.
The warning extends from Port Waikato southward to Tauratahi Point at the entrance of Kawhia Harbour. The warning includes the entire Raglan and Aotea Harbours but not Kawhia Harbour. Paralytic Shellfish Toxins have been detected in shellfish from Raglan at levels above the safe limit set by MPI.
Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.
The public should note that cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin. Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed before cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed, its contents could contaminate the meat during cooking.
Symptoms typically appear between 10 minutes and three hours after ingestion. They 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 with a public health warning, phone Healthline for advice at 0800 61 11 16 or seek medical attention immediately. The public is also advised to contact their 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.
For more information, click here.