What food causes Scombrotoxic Food Poisoning & how to avoid it

Scombrotoxic food poisoning – also known as Scrombroid food poisoning is a type of foodborne allergy caused by consuming specific fish species (Scombridae) that has begun to spoil. Tuna, mackerel, sardine, and anchovy are some of the types of fish that are commonly associated with this particular food poisoning. You then have the more uncommonly consumed fish such as bluefish, amberjack, and marlin. There are other fish to be wary of, however, they aren’t often consumed – thus not an immediate concern.

The fish mentioned above contains a naturally high level of an amino acid known as histidine, which then develops into histamine when bacteria grows due to incorrect storage, handling, and processing. Scombroid poisoning occurs when said spoiled fish is consumed.

Cooking, smoking, or freezing spoiled fish does not get rid of the histamine – it needs to be disposed of. Freezing or refrigerating the fish as soon as it is caught is recommended to reduce the chance of the bacteria growing. It then needs to be kept in a cold, regulated temperature and handled safely.

Symptoms of Scombrotoxic poisoning usually appear within 30 minutes of consumption and symptoms are vast and varied such as; nausea, dizziness, sweating, headache, tachycardia, and swelling or burning sensation in the mouth or throat. They can then lead to further symptoms and complications. Antihistamines are usually used in minor cases but it is recommended to seek medical advice if you experience any of these initial symptoms.

You can educate yourself, or your team further when it comes to food hygiene and safety by undertaking one of our many online courses which you can find here. All course content adheres to UK regulations and has been accredited by The CPD Group.

Visit essentialfoodhygiene.co.uk to find out more.