October 26, 2016

In Canada, Oysters Recalled for Vibrio

Industry is recalling oysters harvested from British Columbia coastal waters on or before August 18, 2015 and intended for use as raw consumption for possible Vibrio parahaemolyticus contamination. Consumers should not eat these oysters raw and retailers and food service establishments should not sell or use them.

Raw OystersThere is no UPC number on these products, and the oysters are sold in various sizes. If consumers are unsure if they have affected oysters, check with their place of purchase.

Vibrio is a naturally occurring bacteria that is present at high levels in some coastal waters when the water is warm. Most people contract a Vibrio infection by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters.

There is a Vibrio outbreak associated with the consumption of these products.  At least 67 people are sick in British Columbia and Alberta.  Most of these illnesses were reported between June 1, 2015 and August 7, 2015.

Raw shellfish can carry bacteria, toxins, and viruses that can cause foodborne illness.  Children, pregnant women, senior citizens, and people with chronic illnesses and/or weakened immune systems should not eat raw or undercooked shellfish.

Always buy raw shellfish from a reputable retailer. Refrigerate it immediately after you buy it and keep it cold. Do not put live shellfish in a closed container or into fresh water. Cover the shells with a damp cloth and place on the lowest refrigerator shelf. Keep refrigerated for only a few days. Shucked oysters should be frozen within two days.

Thaw raw shellfish in the refrigerator, or under cold running drinking water; cook immediately when it has thawed. Shucked oysters are not meant for raw consumption. It is safest to cook raw shellfish, including oysters, clams, scallops, mussels, and cockles.

Boil or simmer until the shells open, then boil for an additional 3-5 minutes. Or steam for 4-9 minutes. Fry for at least 3 minutes at 375°F, and bake for at least 10 minutes at 450°F. Discard any shellfish that isn’t closed before cooking, and discard any shellfish that doesn’t open after cooking.

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