The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has issued a warning to all raw shellfish lovers in BC.
Since early March 2018, approximately 40 cases of acute gastrointestinal illness have been reported. All cases have been linked to people consuming raw BC oysters. BCCDC says laboratory tests have confirmed that the raw oysters have had traces of a norovirus.
Here at BCIT, Habitat Pub offers raw oysters during happy hour. Habitat Manager Mike Neal said students shouldn’t worry because their oysters are norovirus-free.
“The oysters we are selling in the pub for happy hour are not the ones that are on the restricted list, obviously. Albion Fisheries has taken those ones off for sale so we cannot buy them.” – Mike Neal, BCIT Habitat Manager
Neal said the pub sources all their oysters from Albion Fisheries which has removed the specific oysters related to the outbreak off its ordering lists. Neal said the list has been downsized to only a few types of oyster that are considered completely safe.
“When we tried to place the order, we asked for certain ones, and they said those are not available because of the virus.” – Mike Neal, BCIT Habitat Manager
The BCCDC advised that oyster lovers should cook their oysters thoroughly to an internal temperature of 90 degrees Celsius for 90 seconds.
While the origin of the norovirus is still unknown, the BCCDC said human sewage in the ocean is believed to be the most plausible cause of the contamination.