OTTAWA, June 3, 2014 /CNW/ -
Although not widely consumed, some people enjoy lobster tomalley as a
delicacy. Health Canada is reminding Canadians who are consuming
tomalley from lobsters that there may be natural toxins present in this
Tomalley is the soft, green substance found in the body cavity of
lobster. It functions as the liver and pancreas and naturally filters
out contaminants from the environment, including toxins associated with
paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). Eating tomalley that contains PSP
toxins may be harmful to your health.
Past information collected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
suggests that there is a possibility for a very small number of
lobsters to contain PSP toxins in the tomalley at levels high enough to
represent a safety concern to consumers if the tomalley is eaten. Since
PSP toxins are not normally found in lobster meat, there are no health
concerns with eating fresh or canned lobster meat.
Symptoms of PSP
PSP toxins are naturally produced by certain species of microscopic
marine algae found in coastal waters. The toxin can affect the human
nervous system and can be very serious if ingested in large amounts.
Symptoms of a mild exposure include a tingling sensation or numbness of
the lips shortly after eating. Larger exposures can lead to these
symptoms spreading to the arms and legs, headaches, dizziness and
nausea, and in rare cases more serious conditions such as muscular
paralysis, respiratory difficulty, choking and even death if medical
attention is not received in time.
If you experience any symptoms of PSP after consuming lobster tomalley,
you should immediately consult a health care professional.
What you should do
While there have been no confirmed cases of PSP from consuming lobster
tomalley, Health Canada recommends that:
Children not eat lobster tomalley.
Adults restrict their consumption of lobster tomalley to no more than
the amount from one cooked lobster per day.
For more information
Government of Canada
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SOURCE: Health Canada
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