FDA: oysters, clams, mussels, & scallops from Korea be removed because of fecal waste or norovirus

Posted on June 15, 2012 by

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The FDA is urging food distributors, retailers, and food service operators to remove from sale or service all fresh, frozen, canned, and processed oysters, clams, mussels, and whole and roe-on scallops (molluscan shellfish) from Korea that have entered the United States. This includes molluscan shellfish from Korea that entered the United States prior to May 1, 2012.  Some may have inadvertently entered the country after that date. These products and any products made with them may have been exposed to human fecal waste and are potentially contaminated with norovirus.
 
Following initial notifications last month, a number of food companies have begun to remove these products from their distribution chain. However, many others have yet to take action. 
 
An FDA evaluation determined that the Korean Shellfish Sanitation Program (KSSP) no longer meets the sanitation controls specified under the United States’ National Shellfish Sanitation Program because of significant deficiencies with the KSSP including inadequate sanitary controls, ineffective management of land-based pollution sources and detection of norovirus in shellfish growing areas. 
 
These deficiencies prompted the FDA to remove all Korean certified shippers of molluscan shellfish from the ICSSL on May 1, 2012. Korean molluscan shellfish represent only a small fraction of the oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops sold in the United States. 
 
Consumers who have recently bought molluscan shellfish and are concerned that it may have come from Korea, should contact the store where it was purchased and ask about its origin. Consumers can check the label on packaged seafood to see if it is from Korea. If it is not clear where the product is from, consumers can call the manufacturer to find out. Consumers should dispose of molluscan shellfish from Korea and any products made with molluscan shellfish from Korea.
 
The heat treatment that canned products undergo should eliminate the risk of norovirus, the contents of the cans of molluscan shellfish from Korea are still considered not fit for human food because the products were harvested from waters subject to human fecal contamination. For fresh, frozen, or products processed by methods other than canning, the products should also be considered food not for human consumption and may also carry a risk of norovirus.
 
Posted in: Family safety