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Investigation launched into conch contamination in The Bahamas

Investigation launched into conch contamination in The Bahamas

The Bahamas Agricultural Health and Food Safety Authority’s (BAHFSA) is urging consumers not to purchase or consume any raw conch because of a contamination scare.
In addition, the BAHFSA’s Food Safety and Quality Unit is also advising persons that they should purchase or consume any conch that they suspect was not properly handled and/or prepared until the source of the contamination can be determined.

The BAHFSA warned that “purchasing and/or consumption of raw conch will be at your own risk”

It said that “an active investigation is currently ongoing to determine the cause of the suspected conch poisoning” in collaboration with a number of stakeholders including the Public Hospitals Authority, Princess Margaret Hospital Microbiology Laboratory and the Food Safety and Technology Laboratory.

“Until their findings are known, we ask that all conch vendors discontinue the preparation and sale of raw (fresh) conch dishes immediately. Upon the completion of the investigations, BAHFSA will make its recommendations with regard to the consumption of raw conch.”

BAHFSA said it “strongly advises all consumers to only eat well-cooked conch at this time, heated at 100oC for more than 10 minutes to ensure the destruction of any potential pathogenic organisms.

“It is also advised that this cooked conch not be left at temperatures above 5oC (41oF) for more than two hours, otherwise, throw it out.”

The authorities said that “if you or any family member consumed raw conch and it made you feel ill, you are asked to seek treatment at the nearest clinic, hospital or Doctor’s office.

“We also ask that those affected provide the place and date of purchase and any other pertinent information or personal samples requested by medical personnel. BAHFSA requests that all medical facilities, including those on the family islands, report any suspected cases of gastroenteritis or conch poisoning to the Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health.”
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