FDA: Don't eat those oysters

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

By David Liu

The Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory on Dec 6 to alert food consumers to the potential risk of norovirus in oysters harvested from the San Antonio Bay on or after Nov. 16.

The FDA said the agency along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and States of North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas are investigating a dozen cases of norovirus illness in South Carolina and North Carolina.

The patients claimed they came down with the food poisoning after eating oysters from this area, which is located on the Gulf of Texas.

The FDA said consumers should dispose of the oysters purchased on or after Nov 16 that came with a label showing they were harvested from San Antonio Bay.

At restaurants, they should ask about the source of oysters they order. Restaurant operators and retailers are advised not to serve nor sell oysters subject to this advisory.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has already ordered a recall of all oysters harvested from the San Antonio Bay between Nov. 16 and Nov. 25.

Noroviruses cause gastroenteritis. Symptoms of the illness include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Other symptoms can be low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a general sense of tiredness.

Most people who experience symptoms within 48 hours of eating oysters tainted with norovirus can recover from the illness one to tow days without medical intervention. This virus does not pose a life-threatening risk and if there is any, the effect is acute.

However, people with weak immune systems including those with AIDS/HIV, cancer, chronic alcohol abuse, liver, stomach, blood disorders, diabetes or kidney disease should avoid eating raw oysters regardless of the harvest location, the FDA said.

Oysters are high in zinc which is important for men's reproductive system. Raw oysters are often consumed by those who believe that the food can boost their libido or sexual drive.

The FDA advised that food consumers who ate the contaminated oysters and experienced some symptoms should contact their health care providers.

On March 21, 2009, the FDA issued a warning that oysters from Mississippi Area 2C were contaminated with norovirus leading to a dozen illnesses.

(The article may contain some content from the FDA press release)

(Send your news to foodconsumer.org@gmail.com, Foodconsumer.org is part of the Infoplus.com ™ news and information network)