Food Safety

Community and Public Health no longer provides food safety services within Canterbury, South Canterbury and the West Coast.

A woman preparing a meal with her son and daughter.The Ministry for Primary Industries now deals with queries on any of the following:

  • Food Complaints including foreign objects or undeclared allergens in food within our region;
  • Food Recalls;
  • Imported Food;
  • Food Safety Programmes; and
  • Food Labelling

Community and Public Health still deals with food poisoning and food-borne illness.

Contact an Environmental Health Officer at your local council if you want to report a ‘dirty’ food premises or unhygienic practices of food handlers.

Food poisoning associated with consumption of raw mussels

Ministry for Primary Industries media release: 21st June 2019
New Zealand Food Safety is urging people to ensure they cook raw mussels thoroughly after an increase in cases of food poisoning associated with commercially grown New Zealand mussels.

There has been an increase in cases of people with food poisoning caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus over the past 6 weeks.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus
is a marine microorganism that occurs naturally throughout the world. Some strains cause illness in humans. Symptoms are predominantly stomach cramps and watery diarrhoea and sometimes nausea, vomiting and fever. Generally people who are sick recover without hospital treatment, however hospitalisation is required in severe cases.

New Zealand Food Safety is reminding people to take care when handling, preparing, and consuming mussels. Cooking temperatures for mussels should be above 65°C. This will ensure that any Vibrio parahaemolyticus that is present in mussels will be destroyed.

  • Don’t eat raw or undercooked mussels or other shellfish. Cook them before eating.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water after handing raw shellfish.
  • Avoid contaminating cooked shellfish with raw shellfish and its juices.



Download or order resources from the Community Health Information Centre.


For further information, contact:

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
0800 693 721

Understanding the risks of raw milk

Raw milk has not been heat treated to kill harmful bacteria such as Campylobacter, Listeria and toxin-producing strains of E. coli.

There’s no way of telling by taste, sight or smell if raw milk will make you sick.

People most likely to get sick from drinking raw unpasteurised milk are young children, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems

Page last updated: 15/07/2019

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