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FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Certain ASSI Brand Frozen Oysters

Posted Nov 04 2011 7:42pm

Contact:
Consumer
1-888-INFO-FDA

Media
Doug Karas, 301-796-2805
douglas.karas@fda.hhs.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 4, 2011 - FDA warns consumers not to eat certain ASSI Brand frozen oysters
Oysters linked to norovirus cases in Washington state

Fast Facts

• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat certain ASSI Brand frozen oysters from Korea following an outbreak of illness in Washington state caused by norovirus.

• The frozen oyster meat (shucked; not in shell), is packed in 3-lb bags . Each bag is labeled  ASSI Brand “INDIVIDUALLY QUICK FROZEN OYSTER” with a “Better if Used By” date of “2013.02.232.”  Each bag identifies Central Fisheries Co. Ltd., as the packer and Korean Farms of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., as the distributor. Korean Farms has voluntarily agreed to recall these oysters.

• The individual bags are shipped in boxes of 10 bags each with the lot number C-110223, appearing on each shipping carton , along with a “SHUCKED DATE: 2011.02.24.

• These oysters, which were served in a Washington state restaurant and were eaten by three people who became ill, have been sampled and tested positive by FDA for norovirus genotypes I and II.

• There have been no reports of hospitalizations or deaths resulting from consuming the frozen oysters.

• Records indicate that this product was shipped to the states of Washington, California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, and Utah.

• Those who have recently purchased oysters should not eat them and should safely dispose of them in the trash or garbage disposal. 

What is the problem?
Certain ASSI Brand frozen oysters from Korea have been linked to an outbreak of illness in Washington state caused by norovirus.  These oysters, which were served in a Washington state restaurant and eaten by three people who became ill, have been sampled and tested positive by FDA for norovirus genotypes I and II. The frozen oyster meat (shucked; not in shell), is packed in 3-lb bags. Each bag is labeled ASSI Brand “INDIVIDUALLY QUICK FROZEN OYSTER” with a “Better if Used By” date of 2013.02.232.  Each bag identifies Central Fisheries Co. Ltd., as the packer and Korean Farms of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., as the distributor. The individual bags are shipped in boxes of 10 bags each with the lot number C-110223, appearing on each shipping carton, along with a “SHUCKED DATE: 2011.02.24.”  Korean Farms has voluntarily agreed to recall these oysters.

What are the symptoms of Norovirus?
Norovirus causes acute gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines). The most common symptoms are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. The illness often begins suddenly and norovirus can make people feel extremely ill with frequent vomiting and diarrhea. Most people get better within 1 to 2 days. Dehydration can be a problem among some people with norovirus infection, especially the very young, the elderly, and people with other illnesses.

Who is at risk?
Anyone can get norovirus, and can have the illness multiple times during their lifetime. Norovirus is highly contagious. People with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least 3 days and perhaps for as long as 2 weeks after recovery, making control of this disease difficult.  Norovirus can spread quickly in settings such as day care centers or nursing homes.

What Do Consumers Need To Do? 
Those who have recently purchased the frozen oysters should not eat them and should dispose of them in the trash or garbage disposal.  If the oysters were already consumed and no one became ill, no action is needed.  If you develop illness within several days after consuming these Korean frozen oysters, consult your health care provider and inform the provider of your exposure to this product.
 
Where Were the Oysters Distributed?
Records indicate that the identified lot of oysters was shipped to the states of Washington, California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Alaska, Idaho, and Utah.
 
What is Being Done about the Problem?
Under the provisions of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, the state of California is working with the company that distributed the frozen oysters to recall the product.

Who Should be Contacted?

Consumers with questions about the recalled oysters should call Korean Farms Inc. at 1-562-789-9988.

Consumers who show any signs of illness after eating the frozen oysters should consult their health care provider. FDA encourages consumers with questions about seafood safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the fda.gov website.

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

For more information: 

FDA: Fresh and Frozen Seafood: Selecting and Serving it Safely

CDC:  Norovirus Illness – Key Facts

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

    
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