Beware of toxins in fish

Shellfish harvested from water in Otago with a potentially toxic bloom should not be eaten and other fish should be eaten only sparingly, a health professional says.

Southern District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Marion Poore said the eating of freshwater shellfish, such as kakahi or freshwater mussels, from water in Otago with a blue-green algae was not recommended and fish should only be eaten twice a week to stop the risk of accumulating toxins.

Minimal information was available about the potential toxic effects of eating the fish but toxin accumulation studies suggested algae toxins could build up in the internal organs of fish, such as the liver and kidneys, but the fillets were less affected.

When people gutted and filleted the fish, they should use gloves when removing the fat, skin, and organs and should be careful not to cut into the organs, Dr Poore said.

Before cooking or freezing the fish, the fillets should be rinsed with clean water to remove any contaminants from the cleaning process.

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