La. Oystermen Adopt Health Regulations


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
June 26, 2008

New health regulations for Louisiana oysters went into effect last Friday requiring harvesters to refrigerate their oysters within 5 hours of harvest once water temperatures exceed 81 degrees F.

If not refrigerated within 5 hours, the regulations, adopted by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference last year, require harvesters to tag their oysters as, "For Cooking or Post-harvest Processing Only."

Post-harvest processing techniques include individual quick freezing (IQF), low heat/cool pasteurization and high-hydrostatic pressure. These processes reduce the risk of oyster related illness from Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bacterium that lives in brackish saltwater and causes gastrointestinal illness in humans.

Vibrio is present in higher concentration during the summer, and some people become infected by eating raw or undercooked shellfish. According to officials at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, on average, two cases of Vibrio are reported annually from persons consuming raw Louisiana oysters.

The ISSC and the Food and Drug Administration make up the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, which is a state-federal cooperative program for the sanitary control of shellfish produced and sold for human consumption.

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