Food Safety Focus (29th Issue, December 2008) – Food Incident Highlight
Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Bivalve Shellfishs
According to the Centre for Health Protection, Vibrio parahaemolyticus (VP) was the top suspected causative agent for reported food poisoning outbreaks in Hong Kong in 2007, which accounted for 35% of the cases.
VP is a bacterium that likes to live in salt water and is commonly found in estuaries and costal waters where fish and shellfish live. VP can cause food poisoning symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and sometimes mild fever. The disease is usually mild to moderate.
Although VP is commonly found in seafood, it can be easily destroyed by cooking thoroughly. Therefore, it is important to cook food thoroughly before consumption and to prevent re-contamination of cooked food with raw food.