Recent Food Poisoning Cases Suspected to be Caused by
Consumption of Raw Sea Urchins
Recently, there had been a number of Vibrio parahaemolyticus food poisoning cases suspected to be caused by consumption of raw sea urchins. Follow-up investigations by Centre for Food Safety (CFS) found that the raw sea urchin was supplied by the same supplier, "Ho's Brother's Sea Food Company". CFS has requested the supplier to stop distributing the product. At the same time, since the supplier claimed that the sea urchins were supplied from Shenzhen, the CFS informed the relevant authority in the Mainland to take further action. No further cases occurred after control measures taken by the CFS.
What is Vibrio parahaemolyticus?
Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a vibrio naturally found in the marine environment and seafood. It is one of the most frequently isolated food poisoning organisms and can be destroyed by heating at 75oC or above for several minute. Incubation period is from 4 to 30 hours and usually 12-24 hours. The symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, occasionally with mild fever.
Advice to Consumers taking sushi and sashimi
- patronize licensed food premises with good hygienic condition;
- Sushi and sashimi should be cold enough;
- Rice of sushi should be soft and white;
- Fish and shellfish should look bright, glossy and transparent; and
- Fat of fish pieces, such as salmon fillets, should be clearly visible.
Advice to the trade supplying sushi and sashimi
- obtain sushi/sashimi from credible sources;
- use separate equipment for the preparation of sushi/sashimi;
- Keep sushi/sashimi separated from other food items at a temperature between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius.
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