Coos Bay Oyster Co., is recalling oysters over a food poisoning outbreak that has sickened at least three people in Oregon. The company, based in Charleston, said it is pulling all of its shucked oysters and in-shell oysters sold to retail stores and wholesalers in Oregon and California.
The shucked oysters were sold in 1/2 gallon, quart, pint and half-pint containers with sell-by dates from Jan. 15 to Feb. 17. The containers carry the Coos Bay Oyster Co. label and are marked raw/ready-to-eat shucked oysters.
The oysters in-shell were distributed in red onion sacks, each containing five dozen oysters of various sizes. They, too, have the company's label, with harvest dates from December 2013 to January 2014.
The recall follows an outbreak of campylobacter, one of the most common foodborne bacteria. Lab tests confirmed three illnesses traced to shucked oysters. All three patients were men, 50 to 75 years old, who consumed raw oysters between Jan. 15 and Jan. 20, according to Oregon health officials.
They said those who were sickened purchased the oysters from two markets in Lane and Coos counties. The markets were not identified. Two of the patients were hospitalized, but are recovering, health officials said.
Campylobacter causes gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, cramping and fever within two to five days after consumption. The pathogen can spread to the bloodstream, causing a serious infection, for people with compromised immune systems.
The bacteria are killed by cooking. But many people prefer raw oysters. Only the shucked oysters have been confirmed to be part of the outbreak, the company said.
The company advised consumers who purchased the oysters to return them for a full refund. Company officials can be reached at 541-888-9440.
Oregon officials, who don't know the source of the contamination, are continuing to investigate. They said the outbreak appears to be over.