March 23, 2021
Spike in poisoning from raw mussels
New Zealand Food Safety is advising people not to eat raw mussels.
Food regulation director Paul Dansted says there has been a spike in cases of poisoning from Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a naturally occurring bacteria found in seawater especially during summer.
ESR has reported 22 cases this year, compared with 14 for the first three months of 2020, and four for the same period in 2019.
Symptoms may include watery or bloody diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and/or headache.
The consequences can be more serious for people with weakened immunity, the young, the elderly and frail, and pregnant women.
Dr Dansted says to be safe mussels should be cooked at above 65 degrees C for one minute to will ensure that any Vibrio parahaemolyticus will be destroyed.
One good way to know when mussels are fully cooked is that their shells pop open when boiled or steamed, and the mussel inside is firm to the touch.
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