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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 1:44 p.m., Friday, August 10, 2007

Hawaii warned about raw oysters from Washington

Advertiser Staff

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat raw oysters harvested from an area of the southern tip of Hood Canal in Washington. One of the areas where the oysters were distributed was Hawai'i.

The FDA said raw oysters harvested from "growing area 6" in Hood Canal from July 3 and thereafter have caused at least six people in California and Washington to become ill.

Symptoms of the illness called vibriosis include watery diarrhea that may be accompanied by abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. The agency is recommending people who believe they have experienced these symptoms after consuming raw oysters to consult with their healthcare provider and their local health department.

The FDA also said consumers can continue to enjoy oysters in many cooked preparations by doing the following:

At testaurants and other establishments:

  • Order oysters fully cooked.

    In the shell:

  • Purchase oysters with the shells closed.

  • Throw away any oysters with shells already opened.

  • Never allow raw seafood to come into contact with cooked food.

  • Boil oysters until the shells open. Once shells open, boil for an additional three to five minutes.

    To steam — add oysters to water that is already steaming and cook live oysters until the shells open. Once open steam for another four to nine minutes.

  • Use smaller pots to boil or steam oysters. Using larger pots, or cooking too many oysters at one time, may cause uneven heat distribution, which may cause the oysters in the middle to be under-cooked.

  • Discard any oysters that do not open during cooking.

    Shucked Oysters:

  • Never allow raw seafood to come into contact with cooked food.

  • Boil or simmer shucked oysters for at least three minutes or until the edges curl.

  • Fry at 375 F for at least three minutes.

  • Broil three inches from heat for three minutes.

  • Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes.