Raw is risky: Taiwan regulators warn of food poisoning from shellfish

The Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday urged people not to eat raw shellfish to avoid food poisoning, such as norovirus infection, as several recently reported cases of food poisoning were all caused by eating raw shellfish.

raw.clamsRaw shellfish, including raw clams and oysters, can easily be contaminated by norovirus or Vibrio parahaemolyticus in their growing environment, the agency said, adding that norovirus is one of the most common viruses that cause viral gastroenteritis.

The transmission of norovirus is primarily fecal-oral, and as few as 10 or less viral particles can cause an infection, Division of Food Safety official Hsu Chao-kai (許朝凱) said, adding that norovirus infection can cause an infected person to exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, stomach pain, watery diarrhea and, in some cases, a fever.

The agency said people should not risk their health to enjoy the taste of raw shellfish and urged the public to wash and cook shellfish thoroughly before eating.