Proper mussel cooking recommended following infections

Tuesday, 25 January, 2022

Proper mussel cooking recommended following infections

New Zealand Food Safety has put out a reminder for consumers to properly and thoroughly cook mussels, after the country recorded 31 cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus since mid-November.

Evidence suggests that mussels have recently been more susceptible to the harmful bacteria due to changes in water temperature and conditions. Inadequate cooking means these bacteria can survive and infect unsuspecting consumers, potentially leaving them with at least a few days of gastrointestinal unpleasantness.

New Zealand Food Safety has also been working with major supermarket chains to ensure that signage at the point of sale clearly indicates the same message so that people are aware of the necessity of properly cooking the seafood.

Some simple food safety tips to help consumers avoid contracting Vibrio parahaemolyticus have been released as follows:

  1. Hands and utensils must be washed and kept clean when handling the raw shellfish.
  2. Mussels must be cooked thoroughly until steaming hot; a partially cooked mussel won’t kill harmful bacteria. The shell of a cooked mussel will usually pop open.
  3. Mussel must be chilled immediately after harvesting to prevent the propagation of bacteria.

A handy guide has been produced by New Zealand Food Safety that outlines safe practices for harvesting and consuming seafood. It is available online here.

Image credit: ©

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