UK – The Food Standards Agency (FSA), the standards regulator in the United Kingdom, has ordered Dorset Oyster, the shellfish providers of choice for top restaurants and chefs in the Kingdom, to recall their products due to concerns of norovirus.
The FSA confirmed it was looking into a “possible outbreak of sickness and diarrhoea” linked to oyster consumption. Norovirus, also called the “winter vomiting bug”, is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be very unpleasant, but usually goes away in about 2 days. Close contact with infected person can lead to transmission.
“We are aware of reports of a possible outbreak of sickness and diarrhoea which may be linked to the consumption of oysters and are working closely with the UK Health Security Agency and relevant local authorities to establish the facts,” said, Tina Potter, Head of Incidents, FSA.
The Director of Poole-based Dorset Oysters said they’ve not had any complaints from their products but claimed the food wouldn’t be contaminated if Wessex Water weren’t “pumping sewage” into the sea.
“We sell 20-50,000 oysters a week and we have yet to have complaints from any of our customers. The sewage is constant here now. Wessex Water is pumping it out regularly,” he told the BBC terming the sewage system as “antiquated and overrun,” he said.
Mr. Miles added that while he did not think there was currently a problem with his stock, the origin of the illness was hard to trace as some restaurants offered a “medley of oysters from different places”.
Wessex water refutes contamination claims
Wessex water, the accused water supply and sewerage utility company serving an area of South West England, said Norovirus has been “exceptionally high in the community” following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions,
In a statement, it countered the claims saying it did not “pump sewage into the sea”, and that “storm overflows occasionally operate during heavy rainfall events to prevent flooding and rarely cause a pollution”.
Wessex’s spokesperson said the company regularly takes samples of wastewater from water recycling centre discharges and storm overflows in the Poole Harbour area, and that no concerns had been raised by public health teams.
“There are many sources of microbiological contamination which can impact water quality, including urban runoff, agricultural runoff and private sewage treatment systems such as septic tanks,” he added.
Wessex Water added that it was working on a system to predict deteriorating water quality, which would reduce recall notices.
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