|FOOD AND DRUG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Consumer Media: 888-Info-FDA
July 1, 1998
CAUTIONED ON RAW OYSTERS FROM GALVESTON BAY
The Food and Drug Administration is continuing to
warn consumers not to eat raw oysters from Galveston Bay, Texas, which are under a
nationwide recall because they may contain harmful levels of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a
naturally occurring marine bacterium which can cause serious gastrointestinal illness.
Since last week, 128 cases of the Vibrio parahaemolyticus illness associated with
Galveston Bay oysters have been reported in California, Florida and Texas.
FDA advises consumers to cook oysters from
Galveston Bay or any unknown location to reduce the risk of illness. Thorough cooking
kills the organism and prevents infection.
Consumers can check the source of oysters they
purchase from the tags that accompany shell stock or they can ask their retailer. If
consumers are holding any raw oysters of unknown origin, they should not eat them unless
Vibrio parahaemolyticus occurs naturally in marine
coastal waters and usually can be found in raw oysters at levels that do not cause health
problems. However, higher levels of the bacterium in oysters, often caused by warm, high
saline waters, can cause illness. Symptoms of infection include diarrhea, abdominal
cramps, nausea, fever and vomiting. The illness is not usually life threatening, and can
last from one to seven days. The illness can occur within one to two days after eating an
Last week the Texas Health Department alerted FDA
of illnesses in people who had eaten oysters from Galveston Bay. The industry has stopped
harvesting oysters from Galveston Bay, and has initiated a recall of all oysters intended
for raw consumption from Galveston Bay since May 27.
FDA is working with Texas authorities to monitor
the status of Galveston Bay for the purpose of determining when harvesting may resume.
As part of its investigation, the Texas Department
of Health is asking anyone who has eaten raw oysters one-to-two days prior to experiencing
the previously mentioned symptoms of illness to call 1-888-883-9997.