Portugal affected by Spain’s toxic tuna

Spain’s toxic tuna scare has affected Portugal, though details remain unclear.

According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Spain’s health ministry has confirmed 154 cases of people being “intoxicated” by tuna purchased “in various regions of Spain, and other countries like Portugal, Germany, France and Italy”.

Of the 154 cases, at least 105 involved tuna marketed by Garciden, of Almeria.

The problem centred on high levels of histamine.

Histamine forms when certain fish are not properly refrigerated before being cooked or processed.

Cooking, freezing and canning will not destroy the toxin after it has formed, explains reports suggesting that seven people are being investigated as a result of the outbreak.

According to El Mundo, the histamine levels are connected to the use of a “vegetable substance” designed to give tuna more of the red colour that makes it look fresh and appetizing.

As the paper explained, the red colour means the fish “can be sold at more elevated prices”.

For now the extent and severity of the outbreak is being kept relatively vague.

The Spanish investigation into this story began as far back as May, reports foodqualitynews, and may involve the crimes against consumer rights and public health with food stuffs, as well as falsification of documents.

The symptoms of this kind of histamine intoxication “usually start about an hour after eating” and include tingling or burning of the mouth or throat, a rash, headache and diarrhoea, said the website.

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