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Caution Urged on Ciguatera

by Ellen Hardy
06 February 2008, at 12:00am

US - A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning is set to hit fish farming in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

According to the FDA website, several outbreaks of ciguatera fish poisoning have been confirmed in consumers who have eaten fish harvested in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Species such as grouper, snapper, amberjack and barracuda represent the most significant threat to consumers as they feed on fish that have eaten toxic marine algae.

The toxin is stable in the tissue of living fish and does them no harm, but larger carnivores have higher concentrations of the toxin in their tissues and as a result, the greatest risk of poisoning for humans comes from the largest fish. Symptoms of ciguatera poisoning include nausea, vomiting, vertigo and joint pain. In the most serious cases, neurological problems can last for months or even years. Several outbreaks of the illness were confirmed in Washington and St Louis at the end of last year and the FDA is urging caution.

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Ellen Hardy