ALERT, Berkshire County! Raw Oysters Linked To Norovirus Outbreak
A word of caution to folks here in the Bay State. It comes to us courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration and it concerns a norovirus outbreak linked to raw oysters that have been shipped to 12 states, including Massachusetts.
Here's the official lowdown from the U.S. FDA in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The FDA, along with the CDC, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and state and local partners are currently investigating a multi-state outbreak of norovirus illnesses linked to raw oysters.
According to the FDA, the oysters that are of concern were harvested in certain parts of Baynes Sound, British Columbia, and were distributed to retailers and restaurants in many states including Massachusetts and our western neighbor, New York. It is possible that additional states received these oysters through further distribution within the U.S.
The Food and Drug Administration, along with potentially affected states, conducted a trace forward investigation to determine where the raw oysters were distributed and to make sure they were removed from the food supply.
The FDA reports:
Retailers should not serve raw oysters harvested from the following harvest locations within British Columbia, BC 14-8 and BC 14-15, with harvest starting as early as January 31, 2022, which will be printed on product tags.
Now you may ask, "What exactly is norovirus and what are the symptoms of infection?" Excellent question. First off, Noroviruses are a group name for types of viruses that can cause gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It's often mistakenly referred to as the "stomach flu."
Common symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, body ache, headache, and fever. It affects people of all ages and perhaps most importantly, food contaminated with norovirus can totally look, smell, and taste completely normal.
Restaurants and retailers should dispose of any products by throwing them in the garbage or returning them to their distributor for destruction. For more on the FDA advisory, visit their website here.
And while we're on the subject of foods that can make you sick, remember your four-legged family members: