Health. Oysters from the Arcachon Basin banned for sale after poisoning

Health.  Oysters from the Arcachon Basin banned for sale after poisoning

Oysters from the Arcachon Basin are temporarily banned from sale after “several cases of collective food poisoning”, announced the Gironde prefecture four days before New Year’s Eve.

“The symptoms are those of acute gastroenteritis and no serious cases have been reported to date,” authorities specified in a press release published Wednesday evening.

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Traceability investigations are underway but several reports already indicate that oysters from the Arcachon Basin “are in question”, analyzes carried out on oysters farmed locally having confirmed the presence of “norovirus”.

In consultation with health organizations, the prefecture has therefore temporarily banned fishing, harvesting and marketing activities intended for human consumption of all shellfish from the Arcachon Basin, including the Banc d’Arguin.

“As of today, batches of shellfish harvested or fished in these areas must be withdrawn from sale. People who have shellfish from these areas are asked not to consume them and to return them to the point of sale,” indicates the prefectural press release.

“Unprecedented economic crisis”

This measure, which will be lifted “as soon as the health quality of the shellfish becomes fully satisfactory again”, primarily affects oyster farmers whose production was to grace many tables on Sunday evening for New Year’s Eve.

The profession says it is “a victim of the saturation of wastewater and rainwater networks” which causes “overflows into the natural environment” contaminating production areas, in a press release from the Arcachon Aquitaine Regional Shellfish Culture Committee (CRCAA) .

“Two months after the storms which massacred several hectares of oyster farms on the Banc d’Arguin”, professionals fear “an unprecedented economic crisis” and ask “who will pay the bill”.

Oyster production in the area concerned is around 8,000 tonnes per year, or 10% of national production according to the latest figures available from the CRCAA and Agreste (agricultural statistics).

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