News & Events

FDA NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Jan. 17, 2014
Media Inquiries: Theresa Eisenman, 301-796-2805, theresa.eisenman@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA warns consumers not to eat oysters from Copano Bay in Aransas County, Texas
Oysters harvested from Copano Bay linked to norovirus illnesses in Louisiana

• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat raw or partially cooked oysters harvested from Copano Bay, in Aransas County, Texas, harvested between Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 9, 2014. 

• Oysters harvested from Copano Bay, Texas, on Dec. 26, 2013, and then shipped by Alby’s Seafood of Fulton, Texas, have been linked to six norovirus illnesses in Louisiana. 

• The Texas Department of State Health Services closed Copano Bay to shellfish harvesting on Jan. 9, 2014. 

• The FDA is warning consumers not to eat raw or partially cooked shellfish from Copano Bay, in Aransas County, Texas, harvested between Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 9, 2014.

• Alby’s Seafood disclaimer icon has issued a recall of the oysters harvested on Dec. 26; however, other shellfish harvested from Copano Bay before it was closed may still be in the marketplace. 

• All shellfish dealers, restaurants, retail food establishments and consumers are advised to check the identity tags on all containers of shellfish in their inventories. If the tag indicates the shellfish were harvested from Copano Bay between Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 9, 2014 the product should be disposed of and should not be sold, served or eaten.
 
What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?
The FDA is warning consumers not to eat raw or partially cooked oysters from Copano Bay, in Aransas County, Texas, harvested between Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 9, 2014. Shellfish harvested from Copano Bay during this time period may contain norovirus. 

Oysters harvested from Copano Bay, Texas, on Dec. 26, 2013, then shipped by Alby’s Seafood of Fulton, Texas, have been linked to six norovirus illnesses in Louisiana. The Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) closed Copano Bay to shellfish harvesting on Jan. 9, 2014. Alby’s Seafood has also issued a recall of the oysters harvested on Dec. 26, 2013; however, other shellfish harvested from Copano Bay before it was closed may still be in the marketplace. 

What are the Symptoms of Norovirus?
Norovirus causes acute gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines). The most common symptoms are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. The illness often begins suddenly and norovirus can make people feel extremely ill with frequent vomiting and diarrhea. Most people get better within one to two days. Dehydration can be a problem among some people with norovirus infection, especially the very young, the elderly, and people with other illnesses.

What do Consumers Need to Do?
Consumers should not buy, eat or serve shellfish harvested from Copano Bay between Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 9, 2014.

Consumers who may have purchased Texas shellfish in bulk recently should check the identity tags on all containers of shellfish in their possession. If the tag indicates the shellfish were harvested from Copano Bay between Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 9, 2014 the product should be disposed of and should not be eaten or served. Consumers who have containers of shucked shellfish in their possession and who are uncertain about the origin should contact the place of purchase to determine if the oysters are from Copano Bay between Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 9, 2014.

What do Seafood Distributors and Retailers Need to Do?
All shellfish dealers, restaurants, and retail food establishments are advised to check the tags and labels on all containers of shellfish in their inventories. If the tag indicates the shellfish were harvested from Copano Bay between Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 9, 2014 the product should be disposed of and should not be sold, served or eaten. If the product is shucked the dealer, restaurant or retail food establishment is advised to check with the certified shellfish dealer from whom the product was purchased to determine if it was harvested from Copano Bay. If harvested from Copano Bay between Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 9, 2014 the product should be disposed of and should not be sold, served or eaten.
 
Where was the Shellfish Distributed?
The FDA currently does not have distribution information for shellfish harvested from Copano Bay during this time period aside from that of Alby’s Seafood, which only distributed to Louisiana.  In accordance with Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference guidelines the TDSHS is the lead agency in this investigation. The FDA will work with the TDSHS to gather this distribution information.  
 
Who Should be Contacted?
The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. eastern time or to consult the fda.gov website: www.fda.gov.

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The information in this news release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation. The agency will provide updates as more information becomes available. 
 
For more information:

FDA: Fresh and Frozen Seafood: Selecting and Serving it Safely

CDC: Norovirus

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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