Illnesses prompt warning about oysters
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised people yesterday not to eat raw oysters harvested in Washington state, citing bacterial illnesses that sickened at least six people in that state and California.
The Washington state Department of Health closed the area associated with the vibriosis illness, the southern tip of the Hood Canal, and has asked commercial harvesters and dealers who obtained oysters from this area to recall them. Raw oysters from the area were distributed to California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, New York, Oregon, Washington, Canada's British Columbia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.
The Hawaii Department of Health contacted the local FDA office and determined the last shipment of the offending oysters to Hawaii were made July 19. The raw oysters have all been purchased, said spokeswoman Janice Okubo. "We're assuming they've all been consumed by now."
Okubo said that the department has found no reports of such illness in the state. The last report of a similar seafood-related illness in Hawaii was reported in May, she said.
Rodney Okada, buyer for Hawaii seafood wholesaler Okada U & Co., said he checked with his supplier after learning about the outbreak and was reassured his supply of fresh oysters that arrived earlier this week was not from a tainted area.
Consumers who have recently purchased oysters should check with the place of purchase and ask if the oysters were harvested from the affected area.
Star-Bulletin reporter Leila Fujimori and the Associated Press contributed to this report.