At least seven people are sick in New Zealand from norovirus after eating a certain brand of oysters.

Paroa Bay Oysters Limited recalled specific batches of raw fresh oysters because of the suspicion that they caused several cases of foodborne illness in Northland and Auckland.

Paroa Bay brand raw oysters in a 200 milliliter plastic tub and other oysters purchased from Paroa Bay Oysters factory shop from July 30 to Aug. 5, have been recalled. Products have a use by date up to and including Aug. 15.

They were sold at Countdown supermarkets throughout the North Island, Ocean Seafoods in Opotiki and at Paroa Bay Factory Shop in Kawakawa, Bay of Islands.

Five people notified Nga Tai Ora Public Health that they developed gastroenteritis-like symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain within 48 hours of eating raw oysters from the same supplier.

Link to eating oysters from 1 supplier
The first person to develop symptoms became ill on Aug. 1 and the most recent on Aug. 5. Two people from Auckland fell sick on Aug. 2. There was a link to raw oyster consumption from a single supplier for all the reported cases.

Public health staff take a detailed food history for each affected person and review other reported cases of similar illnesses looking for common links. Where possible, people are tested for the organism that may have caused their illness, and any leftover food is sent for testing.

Jenny Bishop, New Zealand Food Safety national manager food compliance services, said anyone who has purchased the affected oysters should not consume them and return products to the retailer for a refund or throw them out.

“See your doctor if you or a family member, has had vomiting or diarrhea for longer than three days. Take care when handling, preparing and consuming shellfish. If you have low immunity, or are immune-compromised, you should not eat raw or undercooked shellfish,” she said.

Listeria recall
Meanwhile, Living Foods Ltd is recalling some batches of Spring Life brand mung bean sprouts in 200-gram packs and Pams brand sweet mango mesclun with dressing in 295-gram packs as they may contain Listeria monocytogenes. There have been no reports of illness.

New Zealand Food Safety advised the public not to eat the affected mung bean sprouts and sweet mango mesclun salad.

Bishop said customers should return products to the retailer for a refund or throw them out.

“Listeriosis infection can be serious among vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborn babies, people with weakened immune systems, and elderly people. For those in the high-risk groups, listeriosis typically has an incubation period of 2 to 3 weeks or longer before symptoms appear. Healthy adults are likely to experience only mild infection, causing mild diarrhea and flu-like symptoms,” she said.

Affected Spring Life brand mung bean sprouts have best before dates up to and including Aug. 16. They were sold in Countdown, Four Square, FreshChoice, Pak’n Save, New World and SuperValue stores in the North Island and other Northland, Auckland, Hawkes Bay, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Waikato stores. It is sold as part of meal boxes online at Woop and The Kai Box and was also exported to French Polynesia.

Pams brand sweet mango mesclun with dressing with best before dates up to and including Aug. 17 is sold in Four Square, Pak’n Save and New World stores throughout New Zealand.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)