New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) has issued a warning surrounding commercially grown Coromandel mussels following an increase in food poisoning over the past six weeks. A Coromandel mussel growing area has been closed while an investigation into the root of the problem occurs. The critter at the centre of this spike in food-related illness is Vibrio parahaemolyticus—a malevolent marine microorganism that causes gastrointestinal illness in humans when ingested.
According to NZFS, most of the people who fell ill after eating the mussels had eaten them raw or partially cooked. They also said that the mussels in question were all bought in their raw state, not the pottle ones that have previously been cooked and marinated. Further testing into the particular strand of Vibrio parahaemolyticus is taking place, as well as additional testing of the mussels and water remaining in the area. Even during the bustle, make sure you cook your mussel.