The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to not eat raw or partially cooked oysters and clams with tags listing Oyster Bay Harbor in Nassau County, New York as the harvest area. Eight people in several states have been sickened with Vibrio parahaemolyticus food poisoning after consuming those foods.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) closed Oyster Bay Harbor to shellfish harvesting on July 13, 2012. The FDA told shellfish harvesters, shippers, re-shippers, processors, restaurants, and retail food establishments to dispose of any shellfish that have identity tags showing Oyster Bay Harbor was the harvest area and harvest date on or after June 1, 2012. The map of the emergency shellfish closure is available at the New York web site. The area will remain closed until samples taken by the DEC indicate that shellfish are no longer a threat to consumers.
The shellfish in question was distributed in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. But distributors in those states may have sold the shellfish to facilities in other states.
Shellfish are not being harvested in the closed area, the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference has been informed, and several press releases have been issued about the contamination. If anyone developed a diarrheal illness within a week after eating raw or undercooked shellfish, they should see a healthcare provider and be tested for Vibrio. Other symptoms of Vibrio illness include nausea and vomiting, and can begin within a few hours to a week after consumption of a contaminated product. Any consumers with questions about seafood safety can call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.