NEW ZEALAND SHELLFISH ALERT
New Zealand shellfish alert! The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries has extended (8 January) the public health warning against collecting shellfish in the Northland east coast region. The affected area now extends from North Cape (Outo) south to Cape Karikari (Whakapouaka). The warning includes Parengarenga, Houhoura and Rangaunu Harbours.
Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – is not affected as it is subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat.
MPI is undertaking sampling and testing of shellfish from this region. Test results 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.
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.
Monitoring of toxin levels will continue and any changes will be communicated by the NZ government.