Gulf Fish Cause Food Poisoning

FDA says outbreaks linked to algae toxin in fish high on the foodchain
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2008 8:41 AM CST
Large fish can concentrate high levels of toxins within their bodies, making them dangerous to consume.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – The Food and Drug Administration has confirmed outbreaks of food poisoning among people eating fish from the northern Gulf of Mexico. Ciguatera poisoning is caused by toxins from poisonous algae that have accumulated in the tissue of large fish. The higher the fish is on the food chain, the more poison can build up, so fish like grouper, snapper, amberjack, and barracuda are the most dangerous, reports the AP.

Ciguatera is common in tropical waters, but was thought rare in the northern Gulf. The fish linked to the illnesses were caught in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, a 56-square-mile area about 100 miles off the Texas-Louisiana border. The FDA is now recommending processors not purchase fish from that area. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, vertigo, and joint pain, as well as possible long-term neurological effects. (Read more fish stories.)