Cleaning Up Our Seafood - Saving Lives!
Reported November 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- You can eat them plain with a little butter, or maybe you’re the kind that likes to load your oysters with hot sauce? Not everyone can stomach raw oysters, but the ones that can -- love ‘em! It can be risky eating raw seafood, and each year about 25 people die from consuming raw oysters. Now we’ll tell you about a new way to kill bacteria in oysters to help make them safer to eat.
The oyster--you either love the slippery, slimy shellfish or you hate ‘em.
“I love oysters,” one person told Ivanhoe.
“I have oysters about once a week,” another added.
Whether you can stomach them or not, eating raw oysters can be risky. Bacteria that some oysters carry can make you sick. Now, molecular geneticists have a new way to help eliminate the harmful bacteria.
“Have been with our local aqua culture growers to test the simple cost effective method of doing a relay, or movement of the oysters from the lower salinity waters to the high salinity waters,” Kimberly Reece, Ph.D., a molecular geneticist at Virginia Institute of Marine Science told Ivanhoe.
In an oyster relay, scientists first move oysters to saltier ocean waters then after two weeks the oysters are ready to be harvested. Researchers believe the bacteria cannot grow well in saltier waters. Tests have shown the process can almost completely eliminate the harmful bacteria.
“This relay method has a few benefits, one of the primary ones is the cost, we’re trying to keep it very affordable,” Dr. Reece said.
This year the FDA will require Gulf of Mexico oyster growers to eliminate the harmful bacteria through costly methods.
“Many growers are very concerned about that, and wonder how they’re going to afford to do those post-harvest processes," Dr. Reece explained.
The new method is cheap and easy and doesn’t alter the texture or taste of the oyster – something true oyster lovers worry about more than getting ill.
"I have never been sick from eating an oyster,” one oyster lover said.
“I’ve never been sick I’ve never felt bad after eating them,” another concluded.
Helping keep seafood safe for all of us.
If left undisturbed, and oyster can live 20 to 30 years, an adult oyster filters 20 to 30 gallons of water per day.
Click here to Go Inside This Science and View Video or contact:
Associate Professor of Marine Science
Environmental and Aquatic Animal Health
Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences
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