Scombroid poisoning is a type of food poisoning that is caused by fish that was not properly stored after it was caught. The fish often appears normal, but may have a peppery taste. Unfortunately, the scombroid toxin is heat stable, so cooking the fish will not reduce the toxicity. Symptoms appear quickly, usually in an hour or less after the fish has been eaten and may last 12 - 24 hours. 

Most common types of seafood affected:

  • anchovies
  • blue fish
  • jacks
  • mackerel
  • mahi-mahi
  • sardines
  • swordfish tuna

Typical Symptoms of Scombroid Poisoning

headache
flushing/redness
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
dizziness
itchy rash

More Severe Symptoms of Scombroid Poisoning

trouble breathing/shortness of breath
blurred vision
swelling of the tongue


If you feel you have developed scombroid poisoning, take an anti-allergy medicine (antihistamine) containing diphenhydramine or cimetidine as directed on the bottle.

Call NC Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or chat from this site for further treatment advice.

Call 911 for difficulty breathing or a swollen tongue.