Departmental (media releases)
26 February 2015
The NSW Food Authority is investigating reports of scombroid food poisoning at a Sydney café after NSW Health notified of four cases of scombroid, or histamine poisoning after eating imported tinned tuna served at a Sydney café.
As part of the investigation the NSW Food Authority has obtained samples of the product implicated for further testing. The product was:
- John Bull Tuna Chunky Style in Sunflower Oil, 425g; Best Before: 11 2017 with a Batch Code: FTM40280D.
This is minor brand catering product that is not generally available to the public.
The tuna is a product of Thailand imported into Australia by a Victorian company.
A trade level withdrawal of the affected batch has been undertaken and all affected product has been removed from the market.
Imports of this and other imported products are subject to Commonwealth import requirements administered by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture. Accordingly, the Department of Agriculture has been notified and will reclassify this supplier as a test and hold importer for all future consignments of this product.
At this time, the information available to the NSW Food Authority is that this incident is isolated to one group at the one location.
The café has subsequently ceased serving tinned tuna.
Histamine fish poisoning usually occurs when naturally occurring bacteria in certain species of fish produce an enzyme which converts histidine in the fish to histamine. This can occur as a result of temperature abuse of product at the catching or processing stage.
Symptoms appear occurs very quickly after eating the contaminated fish, usually within 30 minutes to a few hours and typically last for 4 to 6 hours, rarely exceed 24 hours. It is easily treated with an antihistamine.
Common signs of histamine fish poisoning include a peppery taste sensation, tingling of the mouth and lips, a skin rash, headaches, dizziness and itching of the skin. In some cases nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of ill health, or concerned about their health, should immediately contact their health professional.
Consumers should contact the NSW Food Authority helpline on 1300 552 406 to report any food safety concerns. Further advice about scombroid poisoning is available.