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Food safety alert issued on raw oysters

        The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) today (December 31) appealed to the trade not to sell raw oysters harvested from December 3 to 21 from West Karako Bay, a section of Growing Area 3 in Louisiana, the United States. The public should not eat this batch of oysters.

        "In view of reports of human norovirus infection after consumption of raw oysters and positive test results on oysters harvested from the concerned area, the US Food and Drug Administration announced that the oysters concerned might be contaminated with norovirus and warned people not to eat them. The affected growing area has been closed by the US authorities," a CFS spokesman said.

        "The CFS is following up with the US authorities for further information and has alerted the trade about the incident. We are closely monitoring the situation and will take action as appropriate."

        Symptoms of norovirus infection include fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramping. Norovirus is commonly found in bivalve shellfish, such as oysters, grown in sewage contaminated waters. As the virus can be destroyed by high temperatures, the centre advises the public to cook all food, especially shellfish, thoroughly to prevent infection.

Ends/Monday, December 31, 2007

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