Chile // Health //

Marea roja

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Chile’s shellfish should be treated with the utmost caution. Every year, a handful of people die because they inadvertently eat bivalve shellfish contaminated by red tide, or marea roja, algae that becomes toxic when the seawater temperature rises. The government monitors the presence of this algae with extreme diligence and bans all commercial shellfish collection when the phenomenon occurs. There is little health risk when eating in restaurants or buying shellfish in markets, as these are regularly inspected by the health authorities, but it’s extremely dangerous to collect shellfish for your own consumption unless you’re absolutely certain that the area is free of red tide. Note that red tide affects all shellfish, cooked or uncooked.

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