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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oysters: To Slurp or not to Slurp.

OK, here we go again. The government insists on sticking its big nose into something else. This time it's Gulf Oysters. About 15 people die of food poisoning every year in the U.S. from oysters contaminated with a toxic bacteria known as vibrio vulnificus. This bacteria grows during the warm months between April and October. Typically the bacteria is dangerous to people with compromised health issues. Full story here.

Here's the thing. People who live and eat seafood on a regular basis, particularly people who eat raw fish on a regular basis, will not have a problem with most fish toxins. But people who come from the mid-west who never eat shellfish can find themselves in a world of hurt eating just one oyster, clam or scallop. If you have spent your life living a comfortable and relatively protected life in New York City, and then one day you decide to go to Africa on a safari, and let's say one night you're out in the bush taking a leak in your bare feet and you step on a contaminated thorn. Guess what? You can get an infection and die. Your guide, or any other person who grew up stepping on thorns in the same area, probably wouldn't even notice the scratch.

I'm all for government oversight, but let's not take these things too the extreme.

If you've never eaten raw oysters or raw fish, or if you suffer from an immune disorder, or have kidney or liver problems, you should know well enough NOT to risk your life on exotic foods.


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