OysterFest in Wellfleet MA to go on, without raw oysters, after 75 ill with noro

I’ve eaten exactly one raw oyster ever.

It was at a reception for a food safety meeting in New Zealand.

I picked up the shell, dumped the contents (salt water and a slimy shellfish meat) into my mouth, getting about 50% of it on my shirt. I spent the rest of the night smelling like the beach.raw_oyster

I didn’t get noro from the bivalve experience. According to capecod.com 75 folks around Cape Cod, MA are ill with norovirus after eating raw oysters harvested in a month that ends in ‘r.’

The state has closed all shellfish beds in Wellfleet Harbor following an outbreak of suspected norovirus believed to be linked to shellfish from that area.

It comes just two days before the Wellfleet OysterFest, which attracts tens-of-thousands of people to the Outer Cape.

An official from the festival said the event will go on planned, but without any raw shellfish.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued the ban Thursday afternoon after receiving reports of approximately 75 suspect cases of norovirus over the past two days.

A statement from the DPH said they were all primarily associated with eating raw shellfish at weddings and restaurants in the Outer Cape area.

All shellfish harvesters in the area and Town of Wellfleet officials have been notified about the closure.

All affected shellfish that was harvested on or after September 26 has been recalled and ordered not to be used.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is an associate professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.