Red tuna 'out of quota': hundreds of intoxicated people in Palermo

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Over 200 people intoxicated in Palermo, due to a batch of bluefin tuna sold at very low prices in the fishmongers of the city and the province. Over the past 5 days, over a hundred people have been hospitalized in the hospitals of Palermo and surroundings, affected by the so-called "Mackerel Syndrome"



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Over 200 intoxicated people a Palermo, due to a match of bluefin tuna sold at very low prices in the fishmongers of the city and province. Over the past 5 days, over a hundred people have been hospitalized in the hospitals of Palermo and its surroundings, affected by the so-called "Mackerel Syndrome".

Symptoms, common to all patients, are mainly breathing difficulties, tachycardia, nausea and severe skin irritation similar to burns. Among the intoxicated, there are also 15 children. The police immediately opened an investigation, also questioning the families of the intoxicated to determine in which fishmongers the tuna that caused this mass intoxication.

In recent days, the soldiers of the Fishing Area Control Center of the Maritime Directorate of Palermo have seized about 750 kilos of tuna destined for sale. And in the town of Porticello, on the outskirts of the Sicilian capital, the Coast Guard has seized three other specimens of bluefin tuna weighing approximately 400 kilos, considered unsuitable for food consumption.

However, this is not just a problem in Palermo. Also to Acireale, in the province of Catania about 14 tons of bluefin tuna were seized by the Coast Guard because they were caught "out of quota". Si tratta di tuned tuna, una species protected by the EU.

According to doctors, the cause of the malaise is related to poor conservation of fish, which generates a large amount of histamine. The latter, in high doses, causes a real poisoning. But according to experts, it may also have been the presence of anisakis larvae that put human health at risk, causing an allergic reaction to the chemicals released by the larvae in the host fish.


"Mackerel syndrome is one of the most frequent poisonings from fish products - he told Repubblica Dr. Gaspare Biundo, an expert who also conducted a study on this type of food poisoning - Among the causes, the inappropriate treatment of fish during its conservation, that is when, during the initiation of degradation processes, important quantities of histamine: a toxic substance found in decaying fish ".


How to recognize good tuna from "poisoned" tuna? According to the fishermen of Palermo pay attention to the price, which is around 20 euros, being wary of tuna sold for 5 euros. You should also keep an eye on the mode of fish conservation, which must be kept in cold rooms, never exposed in counters where it is subject to heat.



Francesca Mancuso

READ also:

- Bluefin tuna: still alarm. More than 141% of the permitted fish are caught

- Bluefin tuna in danger of extinction: the EU agrees with environmentalists

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