Investigations into the unknown neurotoxin after eating wild boar curry.

Helen Black made this Official Information request to Ministry for Primary Industries

The request was successful.

From: Helen Black

On the 9/11/2017 three family members ate a wild boar meal and became seriously ill. The final medical diagnoses of cause pointed towards an unknown neurotoxin that enters the food chain somewhere/somehow. Some of the below questions were sent to Dr Jessamine, Ministry of Health. He advised me that the Ministry for Primary Industries are responsible for investigating potential sources of foodborne illness in humans and animals.

1. Which department within MPI is responsible for actively investigating the source of the unknown neurotoxin that affected the Putaruru family?

2. To date, what kind of investigations have been undertaken, are currently being undertaken and/or are about to be undertaken into finding out what this unknown neurotoxin is that affected this family?

3. Can this unknown neurotoxin strike again at any time?

4. Which department within MPI is responsible for actively investigating dogs affected by the Slow go disease which according to the media also display neurotoxic symptoms after ingesting wild boar meat?

5. To date, what kind of investigations have been done, are currently being undertaken and/or about to be undertaken into finding out what this unknown neurotoxin is in dogs?

6. Do you suspect a connection between the Slow go disease and the food poisoning of the Putaruru family after eating wild boar? Either way, on what information do you base this on?

7. On the FYI site your answer to another OIA request mentions MPI's role of providing technical assistance to the DHB at the MPI Wallaceville Animal Health Laboratory. I believe human samples of blood and urine are tested for 1080 by Landcare research.

Is the Wallaceville laboratory equipped to test for toxins such as 1080, brodifacoum or any other suspected neurotoxins that can be found in the bush or in wild game animals? Or would you need to send samples to Landcare Research or to another laboratory?

8. Has MPI had the remaining meat of the boar tested that the family had put into their freezer for any toxins such as botulism, 1080, brodifacoum or any other suspected toxins that can be found in nature? If this hasn’t already been done, do you have plans to do so as part of an investigation? Or if tested, did any of these tests come back negative or positive, and by which laboratory?

9. I have read studies where animals are chronically exposed to sub-lethal doses of 1080 for a variety of reasons. Can chronic exposure to 1080 in a scavenger such as a boar make them become more of a risk to people who consume wild boar as they can handle a higher dosage before dying? Whether this is possible or not, what studies do you base your answer on?

10. From what I've read 1080 causes metabolic changes before illness or death. If an animal dies of 1080 poisoning by eating a small dose of 1080, does the end result caused by these metabolic changes make the animal filled with more toxic poisons (different chemical toxins) hence being a bigger risk to scavengers? Whether this is the case or not, what information do you base your answer on?

These are thoughts that have been brewing away for some time now. I would appreciate your input.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Helen Black

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From: Ministerials
Ministry for Primary Industries

Dear Helen,

Thank you for your email below. This is to acknowledge that your request for information will be considered and an answer provided in accordance with the Official Information Act. If you have questions about the progress of your request please contact [email address]

Sophie Howden | Ministerial Support Officer
Ministerials & Business Support | Office of the Director-General
Ministry for Primary Industries - Manatū Ahu Matua
Web: Ministerials Kotahi Page or

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From: Official Information Act
Ministry for Primary Industries

Attachment OIA18 0155 Response.pdf
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Dear Helen Black,


On behalf of Kate Littin, Acting Director, Animal and Animal Products, I
enclose our response to your Official Information Act request.


Kind Regards,


Samantha Rickard | Adviser – Official Information Act (Regulation and

Office of the Director-General | Ministerial and Business Support

Ministry for Primary Industries - Manatû Ahu Matua | Pastoral House 25 The
Terrace | PO Box 2526 | Wellington 6140 | New Zealand

Web: [1]


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