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Call to stop consuming dried puffer fish containing tetrodotoxin

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (August 24) called on the public to stop consuming loose-packed dried puffer fish bought from a temporary stall in Ngau Tau Kok Road as it contained tetrodotoxin.

A spokesman for the CFS said, "When following up on a suspected food poisoning case, test results of the dried puffer fish samples provided by the patient concerned were confirmed to contain tetrodotoxin."

According to the information provided by the patient, the affected product was purchased from a temporary stall at Shop C, G/F, 177-181 Ngau Tau Kok Road, Kowloon, on August 16. Follow-up investigation found that the temporary stall concerned operated on August 16 and 17 at the above-mentioned address.

The CFS appealed to members of the public who had purchased the affected product from the above-mentioned stall on those two days and still possess it not to consume it. If symptoms develop after consuming the food, consumers should seek medical advice as early as possible.

The spokesman said tetrodotoxin is heat-stable and is likely to remain in fish tissue after the food preparation steps (e.g. cooking and drying). Therefore, eating fish products containing tetrodotoxin might lead to food poisoning or even death. The consumption of tetrodotoxin results primarily in neurological and gastrointestinal signs. All humans are susceptible to tetrodotoxin poisoning. There are currently no known antidotes or antitoxins to tetrodotoxin and this toxicosis may be avoided by not consuming puffer fish or other species containing tetrodotoxin.

The spokesman reminded the trade that according to Section 54 of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap 132), all food for sale in Hong Kong, locally produced or imported, should be fit for human consumption. An offender is subject to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months upon conviction.

Investigation is ongoing.

Ends/Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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Last revision date: 24-08-2016