WESTPORT/NORWALK, Conn. -- The Connecticut Department of Agriculture has initiated a shellfish closure and voluntary recall of oysters and clams harvested from the waters of Norwalk and Westport and is advising consumers to discard shellfish harvested from the affected areas.
“We are advising the public not to consume shellfish obtained from the closed recreational and commercial areas, and to discard recalled shellfish to reduce the risk of contaminating other food and food contact surfaces,” Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky said. “I want to emphasize the importance of heeding this advice. If there is any doubt, throw it out, regardless of how much you love shellfish. It’s just not worth risking the health of you or your loved ones.”
These areas are now closed to harvest until further notice. Raw or undercooked shellfish have been implicated as the source of a number of illnesses related to the naturally occurring bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Oysters, mussels, hard clams, littleneck clams, chowder clams, quahogs and soft-shell/steamer clams from the affected areas are harvested commercially and recreationally. A commercial recall is underway.
Consumers who have purchased hard clams or oysters and are concerned should speak with the retail establishment regarding the harvest location of the shellfish. Restaurants and retail establishments that believe they have this product should contact the local health department for further instruction.
Symptoms of V. parahaemolyticus infection include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever and chills. Symptoms usually appear 12 to 24 hours after eating contaminated shellfish and can last two to seven days. Vibrio infections can be life-threatening for immune-compromised people or those with chronic liver disease. Also at greater risk are people who regularly take antacids, heart or diabetes medication, and those who have had antibiotic or cancer treatments recently. Consumers with questions should contact their doctors.
Consumers who think they might have become ill from eating contaminated shellfish should notify their local health departments, as well as consult their health-care providers for appropriate follow-up and treatment and to request a test be performed to detect Vibrio bacteria.
This recall does not include all shellfish commercially harvested from the waters of Norwalk and Westport, but rather affects only specific harvest locations. Shellfish affected by this recall include hard clams and oysters harvested between July 3 and Aug. 2. The following harvest locations are included in the recall:
CT 79 Westport CT 123 Westport CT 207 Westport CT 173 Westport CT 109 Norwalk CT 20 Westport CT 21 Norwalk CT 109 Norwalk CT 253 Norwalk CT 268 Westport CT 254 Westport CT 599 Westport CT 255 Norwalk CT 270 Norwalk CT 595C Westport CT 595D Westport CT 105 Westport CT 207 Westport CT 67 Westport CT 171 Westport CT 71 Westport CT 73 Norwalk
All of the above location information may not be present on each shellfish tag, and the information may be in a different order. For example, CT 79 Westport may read “Westport Lot 79, CT,” “L-79 Westport,” or simply “L-79” with no town designation.
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