I don’t know any food microbiologists who eat raw oysters; they may exist, but maybe I only know the drunks and they know better than to play with Vibrio and its liver-specific toxins.
And every time we post something about raw oysters, producers and government-types say we have no idea what we’re talking about – and provide no data.
So this isn’t me, it’s from the Washington state department of health via Seattlepi, which is telling Washingtonians to thoroughly cook their oysters.
The department says that cooking shellfish until the shells open is not enough for kill harmful bacteria.
Summer’s warmer temperatures mean that levels of the bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus increase in state waters. Eating an oyster with the Vibrio bacteria can lead to diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, and chills. It says that symptoms usually appear within 12-24 hours after eating infected shellfish and usually last from two to seven days.
The department recommends oysters should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees for at least 15 seconds to thoroughly kill the bacteria.
Yes, I temp my oysters with a thermometer. Because I know a few drunks and don’t want to kill them.