Restaurants in Vancouver Coastal Health are now permitted to serve raw oysters harvested in BC.
Since August 12, restaurants in VCH were required to cook all BC-harvested oysters before serving due to an outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection. The order is being lifted because water temperature measurements and historical disease trends all indicate that risk of infection with Vibrio parahaemolyticus has returned to baseline. In addition, increased testing of oysters implemented on August 18 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency should further reduce risk. Public health officials will continue to monitor Vibrio parahaemolyticus in the population and will respond if increased illness from BC raw oysters presents itself.
In BC, 60 cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus related to raw shellfish consumption have been reported to date. Twenty-eight cases were from the VCH region.
Since there is always a risk of illness from raw or undercooked shellfish, VCH restaurants are still required to display an advisory in menus or on tables, warning customers of the risks of consuming raw or under cooked oysters. This requirement has been in place in VCH since 2007.
Public Affairs Officer
Vancouver Coastal Health