More oysters recalled in B.C., hundreds of norovirus illnesses reported: Health Canada

More oysters harvested in B.C. were recalled due to a risk of norovirus contamination.

Health Canada issued a notice Tuesday saying oysters of various package sizes from Intercity Packers Ltd. have been recalled. Specifically, items labelled Oyster N/Shell Royal Miyagi Ow harvested on March 22 are affected, Health Canada said.

Numerous warnings have been issued in recent weeks, recalling oysters harvested in B.C. and packaged by different companies.

So far this year, 328 norovirus and gastrointestinal illnesses have been linked to consumption of B.C. oysters, the Public Health Agency of Canada said. The vast majority of those illnesses, 293 of them, were reported in B.C. 

However, individuals from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario have also reported being sick.

“Do not eat, use, sell, or serve the recalled oysters,” a statement from PHAC said.

“Also, avoid eating raw or undercooked oysters to reduce your risk of foodborne illness and follow proper food handling practices.”

The contamination also appears to have crossed the border, with 103 norovirus illnesses so far reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those illnesses are also linked to raw oysters from B.C.

Health Canada didn’t confirm any illnesses linked specifically to the Intercity Packers recall, but said the notice was triggered by findings from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak.

Health officials said norovirus symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramps, typically 24 to 48 hours after exposure. Anyone who thinks they became sick from recalled oysters should call their doctor.

PHAC said some oyster harvest areas have been closed in B.C. as part of the ongoing investigation.

No deaths from the outbreak have been reported. 

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