Monday, November 7, 2011


Norovirus is believed to be the most common cause of food poisoning, although we can also get it from other sources. It's rarely in the news - except when there is a large outbreak on a cruise ship or plane (see posts for Feb. 25 and 26).

Symptoms of Norovirus illness (diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and occasionally other flu symptoms) are usually over quickly (1-2 days). We often refer to it as "stomach flu" and don't even consider that it might have come from something we ate. Unfortunately, though, this virus is very contagious.

Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned consumers not to eat certain ASSI Brand frozen oysters (shucked, not in shells). There's been an outbreak of norovirus-caused illness in Washington state and they've traced it to these oysters. The oysters were imported from Korea, and processed there - yes, another problem with processed imported food.

By the way, the oysters come in 3-lb bags . Each bag identifies Central Fisheries Co. Ltd., as the packer and Korean Farms of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., as the distributor. Korean Farms distributes a variety of Asian food products. "Assi" is their flagship brand. Incidentally, the word Assi comes from the traditional Korean title for an upper class, young, married woman. Ooops..We used to have a dog called that.

The “Better if Used By” date on the bags of oysters is “2013.02.232.” Although the recall notice does not specifically state it, most likely the oysters went to restaurants, since few of us buy 3lbs of shucked oysters at a time. Certainly, the illnesses that triggered this recall were the result of three people eating the oysters at a Washington State restaurant.

This product was shipped to the states of Washington, California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, and Utah. If you live in one of those seven states, you may want to pass on the oyster dish on the restaurant menu, or, any dish containing oysters, in case they have been undercooked. Thorough cooking does kill this virus.

To your good health,

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