An outbreak of norovirus infections has spurred a warning from the Food and Drug Administration about certain oysters from Mexico.

The FDA is advising restaurants and food retailers not to serve or sell and to dispose of oysters and consumers not to eat oysters from Sociedad Acuicola GolPac (MX 06 SP) harvested from Bahia Salina, Sonora, Mexico on Dec. 18 , 2023, or Dec. 27, 2023 because they may be contaminated with norovirus.

On Jan. 10, the California Department of Public Health notified the FDA of an outbreak of norovirus in San Diego County, CA, that has been linked to consumption of oysters tracing back to the harvest location in Mexico. 

An investigation is ongoing and the number of illnesses is being tracked.

Mexican Shellfish Authorities have initiated an investigation into the source of the illnesses and closed the Bahia Salina growing area to harvest on Jan. 12.

The FDA is awaiting further information on distribution of the oysters harvested and will continue to monitor the investigation and provide assistance to state authorities as needed.

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 distributor 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 any 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 product should clean and sanitize the containers used to hold the product.
  • Regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces and utensils used in food preparation may help to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.

About norovirus
Symptoms of norovirus infection may include vomiting and/or diarrhea, nausea, muscle aches, fever, and headache, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms typically start 12 to 48 hours after exposure and can last for one to three days. Most people recover without treatment, however some may need medical attention for dehydration.

People with norovirus infections can spread the infection easily to others. The virus can live o n surfaces for long periods of time.

To prevent others from getting sick always wash hands carefully with soap and warm water after using the bathroom or changing diapers.

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