• New Rule: Don’t Eat Oysters Raw When It’s Hot

    July 11, 2008

    Right now we’re recommending that everyone cook their oysters… and not just oysters from our farm, but oysters from anywhere.

    The reason? The oysters may contain a naturally occurring salt-water bacteria called Vibrio parahaemolyticus that can make you very sick to your stomach.

    Here on the Olympic Peninsula, the weather is just starting to get nice, and the Canal is just barely warm enough to swim in. The problem is that Vibrio likes warm water, too. Luckily, you can kill the bacteria by thoroughly cooking the shellfish.

    It’s surprisingly hard to get this point across to restaurant managers, who insist on offering oyster shooters even during the hottest months of the summer. Better idea: pass on the raw oysters, and instead eat your oysters barbecued, fried, steamed, baked, or in stews, chowders, and curries.

    We haven’t heard of any illnesses so far; we’re just recommending that people play it safe. And if you’re eating oysters from the Gulf of Mexico, then you should definitely cook your oysters during the summer… Gulf oysters can become infected with a different strain of vibrio, V. vulnificus, which can be fatal.

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