Toxins detected in pipis in the Venus Bay area
- High levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison have been detected in pipis near Venus Bay.
- The Victorian Government advises that pipis harvested from this area should not be eaten due to the risk of serious illness from Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning that can occur up to 24 hours after ingestion.
- There are no concerns about the consumption of fish such as King George whiting harvested in the Venus Bay area.
- Pipis bought from retail or wholesale sources including from aquaculture farms are safe to eat as they are regularly monitored for contaminants.
- For further information contact the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources on 136 186 or go to www.ecodev.vic.gov.au.
What is the issue?
Sampling of pipis in the Venus Bay area has now detected toxins which can cause Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning and also Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning in humans.
How has the government responded?
A coordinated response between government agencies tested for toxin levels in the pipi population at Venus Bay and surrounding areas. Further testing has now identified further toxins of concern. Sampling will be repeated in order to understand how long this risk may continue.
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources advise that the consumption of pipis from the Venus Bay area should be avoided.
What are the symptoms of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning and Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning?
Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning is a potentially fatal illness and can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, blurred vision, loss of balance, difficulty in speaking or swallowing and in severe cases difficulty breathing, paralysis and potentially death. Symptoms can begin within minutes or up to 24 hours after ingestion of the toxin.
Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea. Symptoms usually begin within 30 minutes after eating food contaminated with the toxin.
Anyone experiencing symptoms that may be caused by eating affected pipis should seek advice from their doctor or call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24. If you suspect Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, call emergency services by dialling 000.
Can I tell if pipis are toxic by the way they look?
No. Pipis containing toxins do not look or taste any different from pipis that are not contaminated. Laboratory testing of pipi meat is the only known method of detecting toxins.
Does cooking pipis make them safe to eat?
No. Freezing or cooking does not destroy the toxins, so any pipis collected from the area should be discarded.
If I've eaten these pipis, what should I do?
Seek medical advice if you or someone in your care develops symptoms that may be caused by Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning or Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. Seek urgent medical care if you suspect Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning.
I have pipis harvested from the Venus Bay area. Are they safe to eat?
They may not be safe to eat. It is recommended all pipis harvested within the previous three months are discarded.
Are pipis harvested from other areas safe to eat?
Pipis bought from retail or wholesale sources including aquaculture farms are safe to eat as they are regularly monitored for contaminants. Commercial harvesting and sale for human consumption is not permitted when conditions lead to unsafe levels of toxins in pipis.
Are finfish such as King George whiting harvested from the Venus Bay area safe to eat?
There is no reason to be concerned about consuming finfish such as King George whiting harvested in the Venus Bay area.
How should I discard pipis harvested from the Venus Bay area?
Discard uneaten pipis by placing them in your regular rubbish bin.
Can I eat pipis bought from retail or wholesale sources?
Commercial fishing in the Venus Bay area only harvests pipis for use as bait and not for human consumption.
Pipis bought from retail or wholesale sources are safe to eat as they are regularly monitored for contaminants. Commercial harvesting is not permitted when conditions lead to unsafe levels of toxins in pipis.
Can I use pipis for bait?
Pipis are safe to be used as bait for fishing.
For further information contact the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources on 136 186 or go to www.ecodev.vic.gov.au.