Health officials are warning consumers not to eat certain raw oysters harvested in Republic of Korea (ROK) due to possible norovirus contamination. The alert from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes the following oysters:
Frozen raw oysters, in half shell, Individual Quick Freezing (IQF), and block form, harvested between 2/10/2022 and 2/24/2022 and between 4/06/2022 and 4/21/2022 from Designated Area No. II, and exported by Dai One Food Co., Ltd. (KR-8-SP), and Central Fisheries Co., Ltd. (KR-6-SP), in Republic of Korea (ROK). More information can be found in the FDA advisory.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Minneapolis Health Department and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are working with federal officials and public health agencies in other states to investigate norovirus illnesses associated with these oysters. At least five illnesses in Minnesota are linked to oysters served at a restaurant, and five additional illnesses in Minnesota are suspected to be linked to the oysters. The investigation is ongoing.
The frozen oysters have a long shelf life (2 years) and were available at both restaurants and grocery stores in Minnesota. Officials are urging the public, restaurants and distributors to check their freezers and discard oysters harvested in Republic of Korea that are included in FDA’s alert.
Norovirus and other pathogens found in raw oysters can be destroyed by cooking to 145 degrees Fahrenheit before eating.
Symptoms of norovirus typically include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach cramps that begin 12 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus.
“People with norovirus can spread it to others even after symptoms stop,” MDH Epidemiologist Supervisor Carlota Medus said. “The best way to limit spread is to wash your hands well with soap and water after using the bathroom and before preparing food for others.”