What You Really Need To Know about the B.C. Oyster Ban

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Image: Chewie's

Image: Chewie’s

On August 18, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a Canada-wide warning about B.C. oysters. There are infected oysters on our coast. In summer months, vibrio bacteria often bloom. –

But with the unusually warm weather we’ve been having, B.C. has seen a significant uptick. If oysters with vibrio are cooked, they are safe. Raw, however, a risk of infection does exist.

Beyond that, what you need to know is the warning it posted refers to oysters harvested on or before Aug. 18. The CFIA has not updated their info. Many commercial oyster farms on the coast (and there are several score) don’t have a problem with vibrio.

If the shellfish are kept in deeper water, where temperatures are lower, they should be safe. Many producers take this precaution. The CFIA doesn’t inspect each farm, and the tests it does perform aren’t necessarily reliable.

Basically, all the panic is saying is: a certain percentage of B.C. oysters are contaminated. The CFIA lacks the necessary resources to tell us what we really need to know — which farms did the unsafe oysters come from? We hope the B.C. oyster farms can survive the fear mongering.

Read more on the topic in the Times Columnist.

If you trust your oyster supplier, or your restaurant’s supplier, dig in. Meanwhile it’s two bucks a shuck on East Coast oysters at Chewies.

Last modified: August 23, 2015

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