Scallop found to contain PSP toxin

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) recently collected 36 samples of various types of shellfish for testing of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxin. Results of the tests found that 35 samples were satisfactory. Only a scallop (扇貝) sample was found to contain PSP toxin.

"The level detected is 505 micrograms/100 grams. The scallop sample belongs to the species Patinopecten yessoensis, same as that for scallop (扇貝) samples earlier found to contain PSP toxin," a CFS spokesman said today (June 22).

"PSP toxin can cause symptoms such as numbness of the mouth and extremities and gastrointestinal discomfort. In severe cases, paralysis with respiratory arrest and even death may occur."

"The toxin could be found in bi-valve shellfish. It is heat-stable and cannot be destroyed through cooking. In view of the detection of PSP toxins in earlier and current scallop samples of the same species, we advise the public to avoid eating this kind of scallop for the time being," the spokesman said.

"The latest sample was collected from a fish stall at Shek Wu Hui Market in Sheung Shui. Remaining stock of the relevant scallops has been disposed of. We are now tracing the source."

"We will take more samples for testing and closely monitor the situation."

Following are some precautionary measures to avoid shellfish poisoning:
* Buy shellfish from reliable and licensed seafood shops;
* Remove the viscera, gonads and roe before cooking, avoid consuming the cooking liquid and eat a small amount of shellfish in any one meal;
* Children, patients and the elderly may be susceptible to poisoning and should be cautious in consuming shellfish;
* When symptoms occur after consuming shellfish, seek medical advice immediately.
Ends/Friday, June 22, 2007