A public warning has been issued after five people were poisoned by a fish product sold in Christchurch.

The Ministry for Primary Industries warned that the frozen camouflage grouper, also known as kawakawa, was found to contain ciguatoxin.

The fish, imported from Fiji, was sold at Krazy Price Mart on Tuam St.

The five people who became ill after consuming the product, one of whom was hospitalised, had all recovered.


MPI said the grouper was only sold at the one Christchurch store between March 10 and 21. It was in unlabelled, undated, clear plastic packaging.

"Affected product should not be consumed," the ministry said.

"If you have consumed this product and have any concerns about illness, seek medical advice."

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Krazy Mart issued an apology on its Facebook page, saying it was sorry for any inconvenience caused by the recall.

The toxin found in the fish can cause ciguatera poisoning, and symptoms usually appear within six hours of consumption.

The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, or muscle pain followed by neurological symptoms including headache, temperature reversal, dizziness, tingling, muscular weakness, or an irregular heartbeat.

It was usually associated with imports of reef fish from the tropics, and was not known to be in New Zealand fish apart from some species caught in the Kermadec Islands.