Three people treated in hospital after eating spoiled fish from Hello Fresh meal delivery

Three people have been treated in hospital after falling ill from eating spoiled fish supplied by a meal home-delivery service.

Hello Fresh today warned customers to not eat one of its dinners after fresh fish was found to contain levels of histamine poisonous to humans, the Herald revealed.

The company apologised to customers, telling them not to eat portions of trevally included in the ingredients to make a coconut fish dish in this week’s menu.

But three people have taken themselves to Hutt Valley DHB’s emergency department after eating the fish.

The trio were treated for symptoms of food poisoning and discharged, a Hutt Valley DHB spokeswoman said.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Annette Nesdale said another person had also contacted the regional public health team saying they had symptoms of food poisoning after eating the fish.

“If people are concerned about their health after consuming the product, they should seek medical advice via Healthline, their GP or Emergency Department,” she said.

“We would also encourage anyone who fallen ill after eating the product from Hello Fresh to advise Regional Public Health on 04 570 9002.”

In a message to customers who ordered the meal kit, Hello Fresh warned people not to consume the fish.

“Our supplier has just advised, as of Monday, November 9, 2020, there is presence of elevated histamine levels in the ‘White Fish (Trevally)’ that you received this week in the recipe ‘Coconut Fish & Makrut Lime Sauce with Jasmine Rice & Crispy Shallots’. As a precautionary measure, we would advise you to not consume the product.”

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused and will be providing a refund of the cost of the ingredient. We want to assure you the safety and quality of our ingredients is our highest priority.”

According to New Zealand Food Safety, histamine poisoning happens when the fish is not chilled adequately.If this happens in certain fish, including trevally, it can be toxic to humans.

People who eat the infected fish are likely to experience a number of undesirable symptoms including tingling and burning around the mouth, facial flushing, diarrhoea, skin rash, nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, dizziness, palpitations, headaches and possibly respiratory distress.

Symptoms can last for up to 12 hours but there are no long-term effects.

“While only a batch of the fish was affected, the supplier has issued a recall on this week’s white fish to ensure customer safety,” a company spokesperson said.

Hello Fresh said it was informed by a seafood supplier that a batch of trevally customers had received potentially showed elevated histamine levels.

New Zealand Food Safety’s Food Compliance national manager Melinda Sando said Hello Fresh had not made contact with the government organisation before starting their recall.

The national food safety body is due to approach the company today and find out what happened and whether the contaminated fish has been supplied to other businesses.

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