Public health officials are warning consumers, restaurants, and retailers not to eat or sell raw oysters that have been connected to a norovirus outbreak that has sickened 100+ people in both the U.S. and Canada.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of April 6, there have been 103 reported illnesses in the U.S. across 13 states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. In another advisory notice, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it is possible that the potentially contaminated oysters were distributed to additional states, as well.
The oysters, which have also been linked to at least 279 norovirus cases in Canada, were harvested in the south and central parts of Baynes Sound, British Columbia, Canada, as confirmed by the FDA.
"Retailers should not serve raw oysters harvested from the following harvest locations within British Columbia: BC 14-8 and BC 14-5, with harvest starting as early as January 31, 2022, which will be printed on product tags," the FDA writes in its notice.
If you purchased oysters from any of the affected areas, the CDC advises you to throw them away and clean any utensils or surfaces that may have come into contact with the shellfish. It's also important to note that food contaminated with norovirus may look, smell, and taste normal.
The norovirus—commonly referred to as the "stomach flu," despite not being caused by the flu virus—is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. Symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. People typically experience these symptoms within 12 to 48 hours after exposure, and most recover within one to three days. However, young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are more likely to have more severe reactions, according the CDC.
If you think you have become ill from eating potentially tainted raw oysters, contact your healthcare provider. And for more recall news, don't forget to check out Walmart And Other Grocery Stores Are Pulling These Recalled Items From Shelves.