Local News

Apr 18, 2014 6:33 PM by Stephania Jimenez - sjimenez@kristv.com

CDC: Foodborne Illness Linked to Raw Shellfish Up 75 Percent

CORPUS CHRISTI - If you like raw oysters, you may want to think twice before digging in.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said foodborne illnesses linked to raw or undercooked shellfish have increased by 75% since 2006-2008.

That number is concerning to locals, because raw oysters are considered a staple here in the Coastal Bend.

"I like them with a cold beer," said Uhmberto Romero.

"That's even more of a reason to not eat it and be more afraid that you're going to get sick," said Amanda Sanchez.

Symptoms of food poisoning from contaminated seafood include: watery diarrhea, cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills.

So, how can you stay healthy if you indulge in raw seafood at restaurants?

Charlie Alegria, owner of Morgan Street Seafood Market, recommends asking your server a few questions before you order.

"Where did the oysters come from? When were they harvested? When were they shucked?"

If you buy oysters, Alegria says you should make sure they're kept ice cold, and that they're packaged properly.

"Make sure the code date on those oysters are good. Make sure it comes from a reputable dealer. Where they harvest the oysters is very, very important," said Alegria.

The CDC agrees with Alegria. The agency is investigating a food poisoning outbreak linked to raw oysters. Only a handful of cases were reported in Texas. The majority of the illnesses were reported in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Virginia.

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