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Nov 10, 2009 11:10 AM

FDA wants to nuke raw oysters!!

"The Food and Drug Administration stunned the oyster industry last month when it announced plans to require that oysters harvested from the Gulf [of Mexico] between April and October undergo one of several types of processes to kill bacteria before the shellfish can be served raw....The oyster industry says that antibacterial processing, which is similar to pasteurization, will ruin the taste of raw oysters, triple their cost and place undue burdens on a business that has deep cultural and culinary roots. "
"About 30 cases of the infection are traced to Gulf Coast oysters annually, and half of those cases are fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "

I usually don't eat raw oysters between April and October, but is this overkill?

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  1. I read about this in the Times-Picayune --- These people need to find something to do...They have way to much time on their hands --- It's totally Ridiculous.

    1. wow, this is pretty ridiculous, i agree. They are getting heavy-handed in their overagressive approach to food "safety". Like people haven't been eating raw oysters for years??

      1. We have similar idiocy here in Ontario. First they banned the sale of raw milk and raw milk cheeses, which are perfectly legal in neighbouring Quebec. I don't recall reading about Quebeckers who use these products dropping dead. But the same pretext of bacteria was used.

        Then, they insisted that all sushi fish be frozen. Toronto has never been the best city for seafood, but this practice really hurt. Everything tastes a little mushy, and a lot of the flavour is lost because it is so cold when served.

        12 Replies
        1. re: FrankD

          Quebec ain't that liberal: a few years back, the city inspectors in all their wisdom (same alma mater as those fine FDA folk down at the gulf, I assume) decided that chacuteries must put their wares into plexiglass and or refrigerated casements...
          really not the same...

          1. re: porker

            That would be the Montreal city inspectors, right? Our cottage is in the Eastern Townships, and I always see big sausages hanging from the ceiling.

            Geez, and what did that do for the display at Dunn's?

            1. re: FrankD

              Yeah, city inspectors.
              All "displays" are now in plexiglass or refrigerated casements...

          2. re: FrankD

            all sashimi in the US is supposed to be frozen as well, nation wide. Fact of the matter is that almost all commerical fish is frozen anyhow. Those fishing boats stay out for weeks. Properly frozen fish is almost identical to fresh. If it is mushy there is a good chance it has been allowed to thaw out and then refrozen.

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              No frozen fish will have texture "almost identical" to fresh fish (not even close) matter how carefuly it was frozen and defrosted.

              1. re: Pollo

                i've had grouper fresh from my nephew's catch, and i've had grouper from that same catch that he froze in a block of ice. when i cooked it some month later, the frozen grouper had a texture and flavor very close to that eaten the "day of" the catch. i wish i had the recipe that i used, too; it was a caribbean style, done in a saute pan. very nice and flaky.

                1. re: Pollo

                  Sorry...I should have specified that I was talking about sashimi.

                  1. re: Pollo

                    ah, well, you have me there. ;-)).

                    1. re: Pollo

                      none-the-less all fish used for sashimi (or sushi) in the us is by law supposed to be frozen

                        1. re: Pollo

                          been trying to find the old thread that discussed this in some depth, but have not been able to. when i get a chance to do a more thorough web search i'll try to get back on this.

              2. Fifteen deaths annually... a statistical national tragedy, worthy of intervention by all agencies, including the CDC, but oops they are busy in their efficient administration of distribution of H1N1 vaccine.

                This is FDA, and perhaps far greater than15 lives annually could be saved if we cut a swath through a few of their managerial levels, and shifted those riffed federal employees to classrooms across the country solely to teach kids to read the labels on hydrogenated fats. The kids could teach the parents. Said FDA's would also be required to forsake previous salaries and dress for the classroom in $10 polyester shirts and $5 ties, as are the regular salaried teachers because of their low incomes. But then, the FDA lost their credibility as keepers of the public faith when they capitulated to the food industry and let "0.5 grams" of hydrogenated fat" read as Zero grams on all labels.

                And shift the FDA focus to save some lives in allowing people to shift from deadly alcohol (drug) to marijuana without criminal penalty. Tens of thousands of traffic murders averted, untold tens of thousands of domestic violence averted, medical costs to society averted.

                But danger: if people were smoking, and getting the munchies for those un-nuked oysters, consumption would increase, raising the death rate by perhaps another dozen.

                Twenty seven deaths amongst us Ar'ster eaters seems a sane compromise.

                When I was in grad school, I picked up 25 bucks a pop for showing up at the monthly study conducted by state fisheries commission studying toxins in raw oysters. There, among hundreds of compadres cramming the cafeteria, many with the Ar'ster munchies, I signed a waiver acknowledging my roughly 15% chance of of contracting gastro illness. That's like Russian roulette. But they fed me a dozen oysters, and even provided chili sauce and saltines.

                I agreed with the study, and survived in hale health, because it was directed at the culture harvesting and management of a food crop. There will ALWAYS be times when a little trichinosis gets into the pork supply, or bacteria into the shellfish, or e. coli onto the melon skins. But. please do not mandate nuking of the food post production as a catch-all cure; focus on the proper culture and harvest.

                4 Replies
                  1. re: FoodFuser

                    Love that response!
                    Reminescent of Good Will Hunting not taking the NSA job;

                    1. re: FoodFuser

                      Although you forgot to mention that our supersized portions in the United States means that millions people who think, courtesy of the FDA, that they're getting 0 grams of hydrogenated fat per serving are really getting 35 grams with each meal, and thousands others are dying annually because they or other citizens use their cell phones while driving to order the hydrogenated fat to take home to dinner, I thought all in all your analysis was spot on.

                      1. re: FoodFuser

                        Three cheers for FoodFuser's rational take on the situation. But then, "rational" never seems to apply to federal agencies responding to a "crisis" -- overreaction to small crises and unpreparedness for major ones. Then again, when an agency is "just right," it doesn't make news.

                      2. The original comment has been removed