Hong Kong bans ‘horse penis’ clams: Canadian industry in peril

They can weigh more than 5kg, live more than 150 years and by common consensus resemble a certain part of a male horse’s anatomy.

3-diver_showing_geoduck_under_waterThe geoduck clam is also delicious and represents a C$50 million (HK$307 million) annual export industry for British Columbia.

That industry is now hanging in the balance, after Hong Kong banned all geoduck imports from the Canadian province on December 24, upon the detection of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxin in a sample of BC clams.

Hong Kong previously imported more than 70 per cent of BC’s entire geoduck harvest of 1.45 million kg per year. Most of that was shipped onwards to mainland China and elsewhere, but the ban covers all SAR imports, regardless of whether they were destined for local diners.

59 sick; summer of shellfish outbreaks

In Seattle, King County health officials report there were 13 suspected cases of the saltwater bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus in the county during July, compared to an average of four reported in that month in recent years. Since the beginning of seven.fish.girls.2.dec.12August, an additional eight cases have been confirmed, while King County would typically only see six for the entire month.

Across Washington state, more than 40 residents have gotten sick with vibriosis.

“This is probably the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, chief of communicable disease for Seattle & King County Public Health. “For every case that is reported, an estimated 142 additional cases go unreported.”

People typically get vibriosis from eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters. Residents who have pre-existing medical conditions or who take antacids regularly are at higher risk for illness from the vibrio infection.

Since June 2013, Connecticut has reported 19 confirmed cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection, compared to an average of seven cases reported during the same time period in the past two years.

Shellfish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees for at least 15 seconds, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Not sure where that number came from, but I grill mine.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to serve or consume the raw shellfish products seven.fish.bbq.dec.11described below because they may contain paralytic shellfish toxins that can cause illness if consumed.

These shellfish products were primarily distributed to wholesalers and institutional clients such as restaurants. However, the affected shellfish products may also have been sold in smaller quantities at some retail seafood counters. Consumers who are unsure whether they have the affected products are advised to check with their retailer or supplier.

These products have been distributed in Alberta and British Columbia. However, they may have been distributed in other provinces and territories.

Spring Bay Seafoods Mussels recalled for biotoxin contamination

Damn, these are the only decent mussels I can get in Australia, farmed in Tasmania.

Spring Bay Seafoods Pty Ltd has recalled four blue mussels products from Coles and other retail outlets in VIC, QLD, NSW, TAS, SA, ACT due to naturally occurring marine biotoxin Paralytic Shellfish Toxin (PST). Food products contaminated with Paralytic Shellfish Toxin (PST) may cause illness if consumed. Children and people with weakened immune systems may be more susceptible.