Korean shellfish may be contaminated
Korean shellfish in the US could be contaminated with norovirus
The US FDA fears that fresh, frozen, canned and processed oysters, clams, mussels and whole and roe-on scallops in the US from Korea may have been exposed to human fecal waste and could be contaminated.
The Food and Drug Administration is urging food distributors, retailers, and food service operators to remove these products from sale or service, as they could be contaminated with norovirus
This includes molluscan shellfish from Korea that entered the United States prior to 1 May 2012, when the FDA removed such products from the Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List (ICSSL), and that which may have inadvertently entered the country after that date.
Molluscan shellfish contaminated with fecal waste and/or norovirus are considered adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. 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.
A comprehensive 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. The FDA’s evaluation found significant deficiencies with the KSSP including inadequate sanitary controls, ineffective management of land-based pollution sources and detection of norovirus in shellfish growing areas.
The deficiencies in the KSSP prompted the FDA to remove all Korean certified shippers of molluscan shellfish from the ICSSL on 1 May 2012. Although Korean molluscan shellfish represent only a small fraction of the oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops sold in the United States, the removal of Korean shellfish shippers from the ICSSL is an important step in stopping the importation of molluscan shellfish harvested from polluted waters.
Consumers who have recently bought molluscan shellfish and are concerned that it may have come from Korea, should dispose of it.
The FDA is in ongoing discussions with Korean authorities to resolve the issue.
Noroviruses cause gastroenteritis, and symptoms of illness associated with norovirus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach cramping.
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