Published On: Mon, May 6th, 2013

FDA issues lionfish safety warning

Lion fishWILLEMSTAD, WASHINGTON - The US government has warned fish processors to take safety precautions with species such as lionfish that carry a risk of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP), reports Food Safety News.

In a draft guidance for industry published in the Federal Register, the Food and Drug Administration listed the types of fish that have been found to harbor ciguatoxins, including two species of lionfish that had not previously been named as a potential CFP threat.

Ciguatoxins are produced by an algae that grows in coral reefs and are found in the highest concentrations in the muscle tissue, organs, and fat of tropical or subtropical predatory reef fish.

With its new guidance, the FDA has added two species of lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) to those that may pose a CFP threat.

“We have also found CFP toxins in lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) collected in waters surrounding the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said the FDA.

“However, as of January 2013, there have been no reports of CFP illnesses associated with the consumption of lionfish.”

The FDA urges primary seafood processors to be aware of potential ciguatoxin risks associated with fish they are purchasing from harvesters.

Lionfish has become a favorite dish on Curacao and it is served in many restaurants on the island.

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