Recall Alert: Expanded Advisory for British Columbia Oysters Due to Possible Norovirus Contamination

A recall for specific varieties of oysters sold in British Columbia has been expanded by Health Canada following reports of possible norovirus contamination.

The latest notice, published on Wednesday, said Stellar Bay Shellfish’s Chef Creek Oysters had been recalled from stores. The products were sold in British Columbia, but may also have been distributed in other provinces.

Health Canada said the recall was triggered by the results of a Canadian Food Inspection Agency investigation into an outbreak of foodborne illness. Illnesses linked to consumption of the products have been reported, but Health Canada did not say how many people became ill.

The affected oysters were harvested in Deep Bay, off the east coast of Vancouver Island, on March 7.

Anyone with the recalled oysters should throw them away or return them to the store. Anyone who thinks they got sick from eating oysters should call their doctor.

Earlier this week, Health Canada issued a recall notice for three other varieties of oysters harvested in this region and sold by Stellar Bay Shellfish.

These reminders included:

  • Kusshi oysters, harvested and processed on March 7, 10 and 14
  • Large Kusshi oysters, harvested and processed on March 7, 8 and 14
  • Stellar Bay Gold oysters, harvested and processed on March 7

Last week, Vancouver Coastal Health said it had seen an increase in norovirus cases associated with eating raw BC oysters. In just four days, more than 50 people reported experiencing “acute gastrointestinal illness” after ingesting raw oysters, VCH said in a news release Friday.

VCH has not confirmed whether the recent reported norovirus cases and the recall are related. However, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the illnesses it investigated were reported in British Columbia.

Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, cramps, chills, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, and usually appear between 12 and 48 hours after exposure. Symptoms usually appear quite suddenly and most people feel better within a day or two.

With files from Andrew Weichel of CTV News Vancouver

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