FDA warning: Avoid oysters recently harvested from Mississippi area 2C

Last week several patrons of the Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar became ill after eating raw oysters. Health department tests confirm that eleven consumers of the Chattanooga, Tennessee restaurant were infected with norovirus.

Now the Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to avoid oysters recently harvested from Mississippi area 2C between Feb. 24 and Mar 17, 2009. 

Retailers and food service operators can check the tag or labeling that should accompany all raw molluscan shellfish to verify its origin… Consumers who are uncertain about the origin of oysters should contact the place of purchase to determine if the oysters are from the affected area… Individuals who have eaten raw oysters harvested from the affected area during the specified dates and have experienced symptoms of norovirus infection are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider and local health department.

Oysters filter large quantities of water; therefore if there are contaminants in the water they can be picked up in the oysters, causing illness if consumed raw or improperly cooked. In the past contaminated water or infected food handlers have been the cause of norovirus outbreaks linked to raw oysters.