Science Interviews


Thu, 8th Dec 2011

Oysters in Trouble

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Helen - Talking of seasonal seafood – this time of year there are Rs in the month, so as the old-wives tale goes, it should be okay to eat shellfish. But here in the UK there’s been a scare with oysters, with a report from the Food Standards Authority revealing that ¾ of oysters recently tested from 39 production sites across the UK were found to harbour the winter vomiting virus, AKA norovirus.

Officials declared it was difficult to say what the health risk was of these findings – since it’s difficult to tell apart infectious from non-infectious material in the oysters. A review is currently underway by the European Food Safety Authority which will decide what the safe levels are for norovirus in oysters.Layers in an oyster shell

And over in France, Oysters have been hit hard by infestations of the oyster herpes virus. So, UK producers have the choice of either making a bunch of cash selling their stocks now to oyster-starved France – or hanging on to them for British consumers.

But – to be honest, until they figure out what safe levels of norovirus are for oysters here in the UK, I’ll probably be giving them a miss.


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