Update – Enhancement to the management of the risks of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Raw Oysters

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Update - Enhancement to the management of the risks of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Raw Oysters

Ottawa, October 20, 2015 - This notice provides an update to the information published on August 21st, 2015. Modifications to the food safety requirements for managing Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) in British Columbia raw oysters are now in effect, as noted below.

  • The Vp illness outbreak is now over and data collected from the British Columbia marine environment is showing that conditions are less favorable for Vp growth in oysters prior to harvest. Specifically, data on water temperatures and Vp levels at point of harvest have been collected and assessed.
  • Registered shellfish processing establishments in British Columbia are no longer required to conduct lot-by-lot testing for Vp before release to the marketplace. However, they continue to be responsible for implementing appropriate validated control measures to ensure that their oysters intended for raw consumption meet food safety requirements – including the interim bacteriological guideline identified belowFootnote 1. This interim guideline, as communicated in August, continues to apply to British Columbia oysters intended for raw consumption. Processor verification testing is strongly encouraged.
Bacteriological guideline (end-product) for Vp
Test OrganismProduct TypeNumber of sample unitsAcceptance number (c)m/gM/gCriteria for action
Vibrio parahaemolyticus Raw Oyster 5 0 100 n/a Reject if any unit is equal to or exceeds m

As part of its food safety activities, the CFIA will continue to verify that appropriate controls for Vp in oysters have been implemened at federally registered shellfish processing establishments. This may include sampling and testing of products. Any samples found to exceed the new interim guideline will not be permitted for sale and will trigger a follow up investigation.

For further information, please contact your local CFIA office.

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