A 32-year-old man is in a satisfactory condition in Thames Hospital after being one of three people to be treated for symptoms of toxic honey poisioning in the Coromandel.
A 38-year-old woman and her three-year-old son have been discharged from the hospital.
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority and Waikato District Health Board today advised all consumers who bought comb honey from the Coromandel area in recent days not to eat the honey.
On Thursday the three all ate comb honey bought from the Coromandel area and hours later they started vomiting. The 32-year-old man was the first treated in Thames Hospital's emergency department.
He and the three-year-old both had seizures, Waikato District Health Board spokeswoman Mary Anne Gill said.
"The honey may have had high levels of tutin toxin which if consumed can result in symptoms include vomiting, delirium, giddiness, increased excitability, stupor, coma and violent convulsions," she said.
A number of people have been killed, incapacitated and hospitalised over the years from eating toxic honey. The last recorded case from commercial honey was in 1974 involving 13 patients. There have been nine cases since 1974 with the last known poisoning occurring in 1991 in the Eastern Bay of Plenty area.
Two poisonings have been caused by comb honey produced by hobby beekeepers in the Marlborough Sounds in 1982 and 1983 and the highest levels of tutin ever measured in honey were produced in this area.
Symptoms usually develop within three hours of consumption. These honey toxins can be lethal, or make a person very sick. As little as one teaspoon (approximately 10ml) of toxic honey can have a severe effect on the human nervous system.
Any consumers who develop symptoms should contact a doctor immediately and notify them of any consumption of honey within the preceding hours, Ms Gill said.
Beekeepers offering honey for sale are required to complete a declaration relating to the time their hives were producing honey or bee products, for an area up to 3km from their hives.
Consumers who are unsure as to the safety of their honey should contact the producer to confirm that the honey is safe, check with their supplier to ensure the declaration requirements are met or alternatively discard the product.
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority has reminds apiarists that the Coromandel, Eastern Bay or Plenty and Marlborough Sounds are areas where the conditions favour the production of toxic honey under certain conditions.
These include concentrations of numerous tutu bushes, high numbers of vine hoppers, hot dry weather to allow the honeydew to build up on the tutu (rain can wash it off), and an absence of more attractive food sources for bees, usually caused by drought.
Conditions this year are particularly suitable for toxin production.
Beekeepers are required to manage the risk of their honey containing tutin by either removing hives and supers containing honey for human consumption before the risk period, or by closely monitoring the tutu, vine hopper and foraging conditions in the areas within a 3km radius around the apiary while honey is being produced.