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The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

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DHMH Press Releases : Shellfish and Shellfish Products




BALTIMORE, MD (May 17, 2012) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is advising consumers not to eat any fresh or frozen molluscan shellfish that come from South Korea. Molluscan shellfish includes fresh or frozen oysters, clams, and mussels, whole and roe-on scallops, either shucked or in the shell, whole or in part. Crabs and shrimp are not molluscan shellfish. Shellfish grown and produced in Maryland are not affected. There are no recent cases of illness in Maryland known to be related to Korean shellfish.

According to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), all fresh and frozen shellfish, and many products made from these shellfish, shipped from South Korea to the United States should be considered potentially unsafe for consumption. This includes frozen breaded shellfish products from South Korea. States have been advised by the FDA to treat South Korean shellfish products as being from an unapproved source.

Effective May 1, 2012, FDA has removed all certified dealers in the Korean Shellfish Sanitation Program from its Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List. This stops the shipment of fresh/frozen molluscan shellfish from Korea to the United States. DHMH is working with distributors and local health agencies to ensure that these products are removed from store shelves. There is not a need at this time for public health agencies to have product tested.

Advice to Consumers:

  • Before you purchase molluscan shellfish from a restaurant or grocery store, check with the establishment to determine the country of origin of the product. If the product is from Korea do not purchase or consume it. When in doubt, don't eat it.
  • If you have already purchased these products, theses should be discarded so that no person or animal can eat them.
  • If you have eaten these products and are concerned about symptoms, you should contact your health care provider.

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