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Health Canada recalls certain B.C. oysters due to norovirus contamination

Stellar Bay’s Kusshi oysters and Stellar Bay Gold have been recalled by Health Canada
(Photo submitted).

Health Canada has issued a recall notice on certain packages of Stellar Bay Shellfish due to possible norovirus contamination.

The oysters were sold in B.C., Alberta, Quebec and Ontario and may have been distributed in other provinces. Recalled items include Stellar Bay’s Kusshi oysters harvested on March 7 and packaged on March 14, Large Kusshi Oysters harvested and packaged on March 7, and Stellar Bay Gold harvested and packaged on March 7.

Health Canada said the recall was triggered by the findings of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency during an investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is verifying that the recalled products are removed from the marketplace. The agency said there have been reported illnesses related to the consumption, but did not say how many people have gotten sick.

On Friday (March 18), Vancouver Coastal Health issued a bulletin saying that more than 50 people have gotten sick with norovirus associated with consumption of raw B.C. oysters. The BCCDC has issued a notice to B.C. restaurants to advise them of the risk.

To avoid norovirus infection from oysters, make sure they are cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of 90 degrees celsius for 90 seconds before eating. Public health agencies do not recommend consuming raw oysters.

If you believe you became sick from consuming the recalled oysters, Health Canada recommends contacting a doctor. Anyone who believes they purchased the product should check to see if they have it in their home or business. Do not consume the recalled oysters — either throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

When people become sick with norovirus they typically develop symptoms of gastroenteritis within 24 to 48 hours, but symptoms can start within 12 hours after exposure. Even after becoming infected with norovirus, you can become re-infected. The main symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. Other symptoms may include a low-grade fever, headaches, chills, muscle aches and fatigue.

Most people start to feel better after a day or two, however in severe cases, some patients require hospitalization.

READ MORE: Bad publicity hurts entire B.C. shellfish industry


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