News release: Consumers warned to avoid raw oysters from British Columbia linked to recent illnesses

News Release
April 1, 2022

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Consumers warned to avoid raw oysters from British Columbia linked to recent illnesses

Oysters from Bay 14-8 linked to norovirus outbreak that sickened 29 Minnesotans

Health officials are warning consumers not to eat raw oysters harvested from a specific bay in British Columbia, Canada, after linking norovirus illnesses to these oysters.

The Minnesota Department of Health, Hennepin County Public Health, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are working with federal officials and public health agencies in other states and Canada to investigate norovirus illnesses associated with oysters harvested from Bay 14-8 in British Columbia.

Twenty-nine Minnesotans have been sickened in this outbreak. They became ill with confirmed or suspected norovirus gastroenteritis after eating raw oysters at Travail Kitchen in Robbinsdale on March 20. The oysters served were Stellar Bay Gold oysters harvested on March 10 from Deep Bay 14-8 CLF #1407063 in British Columbia, Canada.

“Travail Kitchen quickly brought the cases to our attention, and immediately stopped serving oysters,” said Duane Hudson, Hennepin County Public Health, Environmental Health manager. “We are grateful to Travail for their help in protecting the public from foodborne illnesses.”

While some parts of the harvest area have been closed, it is likely that oysters from this area are still in the marketplace. With that in mind, officials are urging restaurants and distributors to check shellstock tags and discard oysters from this harvest area. Consumers can ask oyster suppliers or restaurants to check the shellstock tag for the harvest location. 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. There is currently a high level of norovirus illness activity in Minnesota, and most is not associated with eating oysters.

“People with norovirus can spread it to others even after symptoms stop,” MDH Epidemiologist Supervisor Senior 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.”

-MDH-


Media inquiries:

Michael Schommer
MDH Communications
651-373-8271

michael.schommer@state.mn.us