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Food Safety Focus (130th Issue, May 2017 ) – Food Incident Highlight

Raw/Partially-cooked Shellfish Including Blood Cockles -- Risky to Consume!

From time to time, food poisoning cases due to the consumption of raw or partially-cooked shellfish have been reported. Recently, it has come to the Centre for Food Safety’s attention that some consumers might have eaten blood cockles not intended to be eaten raw but were served raw or partially cooked. These victims developed diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal symptoms after meals containing blood cockles (i.e. ark clam or granular ark).

Like all shellfish (filter-feeding molluscs), raw or partially-cooked cockles, clams, mussels, etc. harvested from contaminated waters can spread pathogens, including norovirus, hepatitis A virus, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Consumers, especially susceptible populations (elderly, young children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems) should cook all shellfish including blood cockles thoroughly before consumption. The trader should ensure the food sold is fit for human consumption and complies with the food laws.