HelloFresh is recalling certain batches of fish in New Zealand linked to at least three cases of histamine poisoning.

The ready meal delivery service recalled HelloFresh brand trevally filets because of elevated levels of histamine.

Fresh fish filets of 280-grams and 560-grams were included in implicated HelloFresh customer deliveries from Nov. 7 through today.

The product is sold online in plastic packages as part of a HelloFresh meal box and is available throughout New Zealand. It has use by dates from Nov. 10 to 13, 2020.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirmed there had been reports of illness in New Zealand and advised consumers to discard the affected product.

Media in New Zealand quoted an email sent by HelloFresh to customers, saying the firm was told by its supplier that there are elevated histamine levels in the white fish (Trevally) as part of the recipe “Coconut Fish and Makrut Lime Sauce with Jasmine Rice and Crispy Shallots.”

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) advised people to seek medical advice from their general practitioners if they have severe or persistent allergic reactions from eating fish.

Signs of illness
Histamine poisoning is also known as scombroid poisoning. Production of histamine is related to mishandling food due to storage at incorrect temperatures. Once histamine has been produced, it cannot be eliminated by normal cooking or freezing temperatures.

Jay Harrower, medical officer of health at ARPHS, said symptoms are often a combination of an allergic reaction and gastroenteritis.

The most common symptoms of scombroid poisoning are tingling and burning around the mouth, facial flushing, and diarrhea. Other symptoms may include a skin rash, nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, dizziness, palpitations, headaches, and possibly respiratory distress.

“Symptoms may last up to 48 hours, but don’t usually result in any long term effects. The illness typically begins within 30 minutes to an hour or two of consuming the fish. There are some fish varieties which are more likely to produce histamines at levels that are toxic, often when the fish is not kept chilled,” said Harrower.

Fish commonly associated with high levels of histamines include trevally, mackerel, tuna, marlin, sardines, pilchards, anchovies and herring.

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