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Hong Kong Finds Toxin In Shellfish

Frozen scallops being sold at supermarkets are contaminated with Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning toxin, the Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety announced.

The products involved are pre-packaged frozen half-shell scallops with PSP toxin levels of 114 micrograms/100 grams.

The roe-on half shell scallops come in 0.88-pound packages with a product number of 14272.  The sample containing the toxin was taken from the Kai Bo Food Supermarket on Wu Kwong Street.

“PSP toxin can cause symptoms such as numbness of mouth and limbs and gastrointestinal discomfort, ” said CFS spokesman.  “In severe cases, paralysis with respiratory arrest and even death may occur.”

PSP toxin is a natural poison sometimes found in bi-valve shellfish.  It is heat-stable and cannot be destroyed through cooking.

The CFS has taken follow-up actions, including alerting the traders of the problem, tracing the source of the scallops, directing the concerned supermarket to stop selling the food in question, and issuing a warning letter to the supermarket.  The CFS will monitor the situation.

Traders are being urged not to sell the scallops, and consumers are urged not to eat them.

“If consumers have bought the concerned product, they should not consume it,” the spokesman added.  The Centre for Food Safety continues to monitor the situation while the investigation continues.

To avoid shellfish poisoning, consumers are urged to take precautionary measures, including the following:  Remove the viscera before cooking.  Do not eat shellfish-based cooking sauces or even small amount of shellfish.  Children, patients, and the elderly should not eat any shellfish.  Seek medical attention as soon as any symptoms occur.

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