Tasmanian oysters banned in Hong Kong

September 29, 2017

Raw oysters and shellfish harvested in Tasmania have been banned from import and sale into Hong Kong according to a directive issued this week.

The announcement was made by the food safety authority of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) after a batch of oysters were identified as containing the Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxin.

The affected oysters were from Blackman Bay Lease 44 however all oysters and shellfish from the region are being recalled.

“For the sake of prudence, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) has immediately suspended the import into and sale within Hong Kong of all raw oysters and shellfish harvested in the area,” a spokesman from the government agency said.

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) is a dangerous toxin that can cause symptoms such as tingling, numbness, dizziness, weakness, headache, nausea and vomiting. The toxin is fast acting and symptoms begin to appear within 5 minutes to 3 hours of consuming affected food. In severe cases, PSP can cause complete paralysis and death.

Unlike many other pathogens, PSP is heat stable and cannot be destroyed by cooking.