Molluscan shellfish products imported from korea must be removed from sale as they may not be safe for consumption. (Photo: FDA)
FDA urges removal of Korean shellfish from the market
Friday, June 15, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking to have molluscan shellfish imported from South Korea removed from sale due to potential contamination with norovirus. Food distributors, retailers and food service operators as asked to stop selling and working with all fresh, frozen, canned and processed oysters, clams, mussels and whole and roe-on scallops from Korea.
This includes Korean molluscan shellfish that entered the US before 1 May, when the FDA removed such products from the Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List (ICSSL), and which may have somehow entered the country after that date. These products and any products made with them may have been exposed to human fecal waste and thus could be contaminated with norovirus.
The FDA considers such contaminated molluscan shellfish adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Although several food companies have begun to remove these products from their distribution chain following initial notifications last month, many have yet to take action.
"We want to ensure that all foods coming into the US are safe for consumption," said FDA Spokesperson Curtis Allen, The Associated Press reports.
A comprehensive FDA evaluation found that the Korean Shellfish Sanitation Programme (KSSP) no longer satisfies the sanitation controls of the US’s National Shellfish Sanitation Programme. The FDA found significant deficiencies with the KSSP including inadequate sanitary controls, ineffective management of land-based pollution sources and detection of norovirus in shellfish growing areas.
These deficiencies in the KSSP prompted the FDA to remove all Korean certified shippers of molluscan shellfish from the ICSSL on 1 May.
Consumers who have recently bought molluscan shellfish and determine it has come from Korea should dispose of it and any products made with it, FDA instructed.
These actions, the agency clarified, do not affect the receipt of fresh and frozen molluscan shellfish by distributors, retailers and food service operators from any of the other shellfish shippers listed in the ICSSL. The FDA is in ongoing discussions with Korean authorities to resolve the matter.
Noroviruses cause gastroenteritis; symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Affected individuals often experience low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and tiredness 12-48 hours after exposure to the virus and the illness typically lasts one to three days.
While the FDA noted that there have been norovirus illnesses in the US from the consumption of Korean oysters as recently as 2011, there have been no such illnesses reported in 2012.
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- FDA warns against consuming Korean shellfish
By Natalia Real