Why You Shouldn't Eat Oysters in the Summer

Staff Writer
News has it that warmer waters are making it more dangerous to eat raw oysters

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Research says we shouldn't be eating oysters in the warm summer months.

Well, it looks like we were doing August all wrong: Instead of going out and getting a French 75 cocktail with some oysters on the half-shell, we should've stuck with something more plebian like shrimp cocktail, as health officials warn against eating oysters in the summer.

The Huffington Post reports that officials in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington state have reported an unusually high number of vibriosis cases.

According to the report, 113 cases of vibriosis had been reported in the three states by the middle of August; in recent years, there were only 55 cases of vibriosis per year, The Huffington Post notes. In King County alone, there were 13 cases in July, compared to the average of four for the month of July, the King County's website says.

In Massachusetts, the DPH Bureau of Environmental Health Food Protection Program received 50 reports of confirmed vibriosis since May 31, 2013; that's almost twice the number of cases from the same time frame the year before.

The illnesses, which refers to two different foodborne illnesses caused by bacterial infection, are usually very rare. Past reports note that an average American is 100 times more likely to find a pearl in an oyster than they are to contract vibriosis.

In response, officials have shut down some commercial oyster beds until further notice, which might mean a depletion of oysters until the colder months. Vibriosis has traditionally been linked to warm waters, where bacteria can breed, which oftentimes leads oyster enthusiasts to only eat raw oysters in months that contain the letter "R."

Originally published 9/5/13

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