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Some oysters shipped to Massachusetts from Canada may be infected with norovirus


Check all oysters imported from British Columbia.

A platter of oysters in New York on December 10, 2021. (Joel Goldberg/The New York Times)

The FDA is warning restaurants and retailers not to sell certain Canadian oysters that have been linked to an outbreak of norovirus.

The FDA said Wednesday it was working with other public health organizations to investigate a multistate outbreak of norovirus illnesses linked to raw oysters. He said he conducted a traceability investigation to determine where the raw oysters were distributed.

The FDA said it confirmed that potentially contaminated raw oysters harvested from the southern and central parts of Baynes Sound, British Columbia, had been distributed to restaurants and retailers in Massachusetts and several other states.

Retailers should not serve raw oysters harvested from the following harvest locations in British Columbia: BC 14-8 and BC 14-15, with harvest commencing January 31, 2022. This information is printed on product labels .

The FDA said retailers should dispose of any products they own by throwing them away or returning them to their distributor for destruction.

They should also be aware of cross-contamination that may have occurred as a result of working with oysters, clean any reused containers or surfaces they were on or in, and clean any utensils that have touched oysters.

Likewise, the FDA has said people shouldn’t eat raw oysters from the places listed above, and if they have any of the products listed, they should throw them in the trash.

Importantly, the FDA said, foods contaminated with norovirus may look, smell and taste normal. Additionally, it should be noted that noroviruses are relatively heat resistant and can survive temperatures as high as 145°F. Rapid steaming processes that are often used for cooking shellfish may not heat food enough to kill norovirus.

Oysters can cause illness if eaten raw, the FDA said, especially in people with weakened immune systems. Children under five and the elderly are most at risk.

Still, the FDA has said people of all ages can become infected and sick with norovirus. The most common symptoms of norovirus are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. Other symptoms include fever, headache, and body aches.

A person typically develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus, the FDA said. Most people with norovirus disease recover in one to three days.

If you have norovirus disease, the FDA said, you may feel extremely sick and vomit or have diarrhea several times a day. This can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, the elderly, and people with other illnesses.

Symptoms of dehydration include decreased urination, dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up, the FDA said. Dehydrated children may cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy.

The FDA said anyone who suspects a family member, including themselves, may have contracted norovirus should contact their healthcare provider.


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