New York’s Oyster Bay Harbor Shellfish May Be Contaminated: FDA

Shellfish harvesting in Oyster Bay Harbor, New York has been shut down due to potential contamination with bacteria that may be responsible for a food poisoning outbreak that has sickened at least eight people in several states. 

The FDA is warning consumers not to eat shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor, in Nassau County, New York, because it could be contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria. The FDA  warning came after three cases of food poisoning in New York were reported, as well as at least five cases in three other states that have not been named.

Those who fell ill all ate raw or partially cooked shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor. Shellfishing in the harbor was shut down by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on July 13. The bay will remain closed to shellfish harvesting until New York DEC collects samples indicating that shellfish from the bay is safe to eat again.

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All shellfish harvesters, shippers, re-shippers, processors, restaurants and retail food establishments have been advised to check whether any of their shellfish was harvested from Oyster Bay Harbor after June 1, 2012. If it was, the shellfish should be disposed of and not sold or served, the FDA warned.

The FDA warns that the shellfish from the harbor was shipped to Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. However, it may have been re-distributed to even more states.

Signs of a Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection can include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms may begin as soon as a few hours or could take as long as five days to appear after consumption of raw or partially cooked shellfish.

Any consumers who do not know where shellfish in their possession was harvested should contact the retailer, restaurant or other place of purchase to inquire about its source. Anyone who falls ill after eating the shellfish should contact their healthcare provider and the place of purchase.

Consumers with questions can contact the FDA at (888) SAFEFOOD or send an email to

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