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Scombrotoxic food poisoning usually results from improper food handling or storage. While most often associated with fish (tuna and mackerel), any food (such as certain cheeses) that contains the appropriate amino acids and is subjected to certain bacterial contamination and growth may lead to scombroid poisoning when ingested. 

Fish, certain cheeses
Incubation period
10 mins - 2 hours.
Signs and Symptoms


  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Palpitations (fast heart beat)
  • Dizziness
  • Rash on the face/neck/upper chest
  • Tightness of chest
  • Tingling and burning sensations around the mouth.
Diagnosis is usually based on a person showing the characteristic symptoms and is confirmed by detection of histamine in epidemiologically implicated fish.
Symptoms usually resolve spontaneously. In severe cases, antihistamines may be effective in relieving symptoms.
Control and Prevention
  • Hand washing is the most important factor in preventing the spread of infection.
  • Adequate refrigeration or irradiation of caught fish prevents this spoilage.