US warns about illness from Canadian oysters

Published on
May 2, 2018

On the heels of British Columbia, Canada, oyster farms closing due to a norovirus outbreak, the United States is now warning Americans about eating certain raw oysters from British Columbia.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned restaurants and retailers that potentially contaminated raw oysters harvested in the south and central parts of Baynes Sound, British Columbia, Canada, were distributed to California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington state. It is possible that additional states received the oysters as well.

“Restaurants and retailers should not sell the potentially affected raw oysters. Restaurants and retailers should dispose of any products by throwing them in the garbage or returning to their distributor for destruction,” FDA said in a notice.

In early April, oyster farms between Denman Island and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, were closed after an outbreak of norovirus. More than 172 Canadians have suffered gastrointestinal illness since eating the oysters; however, no deaths have been reported, according to a 27 April update from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The oyster farms in question remain closed, according to the Canadian agency.

FDA warned consumers not to eat any raw oysters from the south and central parts of Baynes Sound, specifically landfiles #1402060, #1411206, #1400483, and #278757.  

“If they have any of the listed products, they should throw them in the garbage. People who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated raw oysters should talk to their health care providers,” the FDA said.

Restaurants and retailers should also avoid cross-contamination from raw oysters, by cleaning and sanitizing the containers used to hold the product and regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces and utensils used in food preparation, among other measures.

Contributing Editor



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