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FDA warns consumers not to eat shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor, Nassau County, NY

Vibrio cholerae (Cholera)Vibrio cholerae (Cholera) (Photo credit: hukuzatuna)

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat raw or partially cooked oysters and clams (shellfish) with tags listing Oyster Bay Harbor, in Nassau County, N.Y., as the harvest area, following illnesses reported in several states caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria.
  • Shellfish harvested from Oyster Bay Harbor have been linked to confirmed and possible cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus illness.
  • Ill persons reported consumption of raw or partially cooked shellfish from the affected area.
  • The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) closed Oyster Bay Harbor, on July 13 to shellfish harvesting.
  • All shellfish harvesters, shippers, re-shippers, processors, restaurants, and retail food establishments are advised to check the identity tags on all containers of shellfish in their inventories. If the tag indicates the harvest area was Oyster Bay Harbor and a harvest date on or after June 1, 2012, the product should be disposed of and not be sold or served.

What are the Symptoms of Vibrio parahaemolyticus Illness?

Illness is typically characterized by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The symptoms begin from a few hours to as many as five days after consumption of raw or undercooked seafood, particularly shellfish.

What do Consumers Need to Do?

Consumers possessing shellfish with tags listing Oyster Bay Harbor as the harvest area and a harvest date on or after June 1, 2012 should dispose of and not eat the shellfish. Consumers possessing shellfish for which the harvest area is not known should inquire of the retailer, restaurant or other facility about the source of shellfish. If the shellfish was already consumed and no one became ill, no action is needed. However, if you develop a diarrheal illness within a week after consuming raw or undercooked shellfish, see your health care provider and inform the provider about this exposure.

Where was the Shellfish Distributed?

Records and information obtained by the New York state DEC indicate that the shellfish from this area of Oyster Bay Harbor in New York were distributed in several states, including, but not necessarily limited to, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

What is Being Done About the Problem?

The New York state DEC has prohibited the harvesting of shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor in Nassau County, and has issued media releases advising establishments not to use shellfish from this harvest area and advising consumers not to eat the shellfish. The DEC has notified states that received implicated shellfish and the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference, which has subsequently notified its membership.

The map at shows the area that has been closed to harvesting of shellfish. This closure will remain in effect until samples collected by the DEC indicate that shellfish from the affected area are no longer a threat to consumers. 

No other harvest areas have been implicated in the recent Vibrio parahaemolyticus illnesses.

Who Should be Contacted?

Consumers with questions about seafood safety may call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD or email[email protected].

The information in this press release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation.  The agency will provide updates as more information becomes available.

For more information:

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