Norovirus Illness Causes Oyster Recall
Frozen raw oysters imported from Korea are at the forefront of a recall notice issued by the Hawai’i Department of Health Friday morning. The recalled frozen raw imported oysters have been associated with the norovirus illness.
The product was reportedly sold in bulk to distributors and food establishments throughout the state, as individually quick frozen raw oysters on the half shell, packaged under the Dai One Food Company label. Affected harvest dates span from Feb. 10-13 of this year, and are listed on the shellfish identification tags for bulk shellfish cases.
“The department has already conducted product trace-backs and embargoed all of the suspect product on Nov. 24 at various local shellfish distributors and restaurants,” said DOH’s Peter Oshiro, “Although this product is not sold directly to the public, a recall has been issued as an additional safeguard to further notify anyone who may possess the product that it is unsafe and should be destroyed.
DOH officials say a total of 11 sporadic illness cases were reported between September and November, all of which appeared to be linked to the consumption of raw oysters.
Suspected oyster samples were sent to the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory in Alabama for testing, and came back positive for norovirus.
Distributors and restaurants have been ordered by DOH to destroy affected products on hand.
Norovirus symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, and headaches with onset usually within 12-48 hrs after consuming contaminated food.
Individuals experiencing these symptoms should consult a physician, and if food-borne illness is suspected, report it to the DOH Disease Investigation Branch by calling (808) 586-4586.
In February 2014, DOH food rules went into effect requiring a consumer advisory at the point of sale for any restaurant or eatery serving raw or undercooked foods.
Those who are pregnant or immunocompromised are also advised not to consume any raw or undercooked foods.