Fish – scombroid or histamine poisoning

Scombroid or histamine poisoning is the result of inadequate temperature control of fish. It can occur when fish that has not been chilled to 4°C or below is eaten. The result is a high level of histamine building up in the fish flesh. Often misdiagnosed as an allergic reaction, symptoms vary but include:

  • burning and tingling of the lips and mouth
  • dizziness
  • flushing of the face
  • an itchy rash, often on the face, neck, chest and upper back
  • sweating
  • vomiting and diarrhoea
  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • palpitations.

In severe cases, and particularly in those suffering from asthma, bronchial difficulties can occur.

Usually not of major concern, deaths overseas have focused attention on Scombroid poisoning. See more about Natural toxins in food

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