The Food and Drug Administration advises consumers not to eat, and restaurants and food retailers not to sell and to dispose of oysters illegally harvested from Milford-approved areas in Connecticut because they may be contaminated with toxic substances.
The implicated oysters were harvested on Nov. 12 and Nov. 15 by the original certified dealer Seaview Fisheries, CT-084-SS, AQ, and labeled lots L466B and 466A. because they may be contaminated. The oysters were directly sent to a distributor in Rhode Island. Oysters were distributed further to distributors and retailers in Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas and may have been distributed further from these states.
Oysters harvested illegally may be contaminated with human pathogens, toxic elements, or poisonous or deleterious substances and can cause illness if consumed. Oysters are filter feeders that remove and bioaccumulate bacteria and other pathogens from the water. It is not uncommon for shellfish to be consumed raw and whole. Contaminated oysters can cause illness if eaten raw, particularly in people with compromised immune systems. Oysters contaminated with pathogens may look, smell, and taste normal.
Symptoms of food poisoning
People can get sick with food poisoning after ingesting pathogens, toxic elements, or poisonous or deleterious substances. Symptoms may vary, depending on the pathogen or contaminant, and can range from mild to severe. The most common symptoms of food poisoning are diarrhea, stomach pain or cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Symptoms may start within a few hours or take a few days and can last for a few hours or several days. Consumers of these products who are experiencing food poisoning symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach pain or cramps, nausea, vomiting, or fever should contact their healthcare provider, who should report their symptoms to their local Health Department.
On November 17, 2023, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture informed the FDA of a recall of oysters illegally harvested and potentially contaminated. The oysters were illegally harvested from Milford Approved Area on Nov. 11 and 15 by certified dealer Seaview Fisheries, LLC, CT-084-SS, AQ, labeled as lots L466B and 466A.
The FDA is awaiting further information on the distribution of the oysters and will continue to monitor the investigation and assist state authorities as needed.
Recommendations for restaurants and retailers
Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell the potentially contaminated oysters. Restaurants and retailers should dispose of any products by throwing them in the garbage or returning them to their distributors for destruction.
Restaurants and retailers should also be aware that shellfish may be a source of pathogens and should control the potential for cross-contamination of food processing equipment and the food processing environment. They should follow the steps below:
- Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
- Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators who have processed and packaged potentially contaminated products need to be concerned about cross-contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with the potentially contaminated products.
- Retailers that have sold bulk products should clean and sanitize the containers used to hold the product.
- Regularly cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces and utensils used in food preparation may help minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.
Recommendations for consumers
Consumers should not eat the potentially contaminated oysters. Consumers should contact their healthcare provider to report their symptoms and receive care.
To report a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction), you can
- Call an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator if you wish to speak directly to a person about your problem.
- Complete an electronic Voluntary MedWatch form online.
- Complete a paper Voluntary MedWatch form that can be mailed to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/fcic for additional consumer and industry assistance.
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