By Maria Kandjungu
THE Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has warned the public to stay away from oysters and mussels originating from the Walvis Bay Aquaculture production as they are not safe for human consumption.
The oysters and mussels were found to have a higher level of diarrheic shellfish poison (DSP) than normal.
In a statement, Fisheries Permanent Secretary Dr Moses Maurihungirire said the samples of the oysters and mussels from the Walvis Bay Aquaculture production 1 were tested for biotoxins during a recent official sampling and testing facilitated by the National Standards Institution (NSI), as part of the national shellfish sanitation programme and were found to unsafe for human consuption.
“The latest results from the oysters and mussels samples that were submitted for testing indicate the presence DSP at a level higher than the permissible level in this sample and therefore it is unsafe to consume oysters and mussels until further notice from the ministry,” Dr Maurihungirire said.
He cautioned that the marine bio-toxins were not destroyed by cooking or freezing. The biotoxins syndrome is characterised by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps.
Dr Maurihungirire further stated that DSP and its symptoms usually set in within half an hour of ingesting infected shellfish and last for about one day. “When any of the above symptoms occur after eating molluscan shellfish then seek immediate medical assistance and inform the medical practitioner that you have consumed molluscan shellfish,” he cautioned further.
Diarrheic shellfish poison is a marine biotoxin toxin produced by the dinoflagellate dinophysis, which is a type of naturally occurring microscopic algae. When the algae “blooms”, the amount of biotoxin-producing algae can increase, the increased algae become a greater food source for shellfish.
The more algae the shellfish eat, the more biotoxin they accumulate. Shellfish eat these algae and can retain the toxin as biotoxins does not harm shellfish. People however can become ill from eating shellfish contaminated with DSP.
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