Canadian agency warns of risks of eating raw, undercooked shellfish

Updated: 2012-07-30 14:12


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The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) in western Canada is reminding the public of illness risks associated with eating raw or undercooked bivalve shellfish.

BCCDC, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, said this week that shellfish such as oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, and cockles might accumulate bacteria, viruses, toxins or other impurities present in the water.

The agency suggested the public consume only cooked shellfish and ensure adequate cooking time as cooking would destroy viruses and bacteria and decrease the risk of gastrointestinal illness.

Purchase shellfish only from approved sources and avoid cross-contamination when handling raw and cooked seafood were also included in the safety tips.

It urged anyone becoming ill with diarrhea and vomiting after eating shellfish should report illness to local public health office or primary care provider and see a physician if symptoms persist or become severe.

Five cases of locally-acquired Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection that linked to raw shellfish have been reported this year, while 42 cases of vibrio were reported in 2011, according to the agency.