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Vibrio parahaemolyticus and raw Pacific oysters from Coffin Bay, SA

​​​​Commonwealth, state and territory food regulators and health authorities are investigating an increase in cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus linked to the consumption of raw Pacific oysters (Magallana gigas) produced in Coffin Bay, SA. 

Public health investigations have detected cases of foodborne illness due to V. parahaemolyticus in SA, NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC, NT and WA. Cases reported consuming raw Pacific oysters that were fresh or previously frozen. 

Trace back activities have identified oyster production areas in Coffin Bay as the source of the oysters consumed by the cases. The cause of the contamination is still under investigation. 

On 19 November 2021, SA Health issued an emergency order to recall raw Pacific oysters produced in Coffin Bay, including fresh and frozen products. The food recall notice is available here

Consumers are advised not to eat raw Pacific oysters from Coffin Bay, including fresh and frozen products. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice. Consumers should dispose of the oysters or return the oysters to the place of purchase for a full refund. 

V. parahaemolyticus is a bacteria naturally present in coastal and estuarine waters. Foodborne illness caused by V. parahaemolyticus has been linked to fish, raw and partially cooked shellfish and crustaceans. 

Common symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever and headache. The elderly and immunocompromised individuals are at a greater risk of more severe health outcomes. 

PIRSA and SA Health are working with the SA oyster industry to investigate the outbreak and implement risk management measures. 

On Tuesday 16 November 2021 the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) closed oyster production areas of Coffin Bay as a precautionary measure as part of the investigation.

For complaints about food please contact your relevant state or territory food enforcement agency: Food enforcement contacts

Further updates on this incident will be provided when available.​

Frequently asked questions​

What is the food incident? 

Food regulators and health authorities are investigating an increase in cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus linked to the consumption of raw Pacific oysters (Magallana gigas) produced in Coffin Bay, SA. 

Cases of foodborne illness (gastroenteritis) due to V. parahaemolyticus have been detected in SA, NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC, NT and WA. Consumers reported consuming raw Pacific oysters that were fresh or previously frozen. 

V. parahaemolyticus is a bacteria naturally present in coastal and estuarine waters. Foodborne illness caused by V. parahaemolyticus has been linked to fish, raw and partially cooked shellfish and crustaceans. 

What is being done in response? ​

A food recall was published by FSANZ on 19 November 2021. It applies to all oysters produced in Coffin Bay, SA with production dates from and including 4 September 2021 up to and including 16 November 2021.

The oyster production areas of Coffin Bay, SA have been closed as a precautionary measure since 16 November 2021. Food regulators in SA are working with the oyster industry to implement ongoing risk management measures.

​Food regulators are tracing product distribution to check all product is being recalled. 

How did the oysters become contaminated with V. parahaemolyticus?  

The investigation is ongoing and the cause of contamination is yet to be determined by authorities. 

What product has been recalled? 

Raw Pacific oysters produced in Coffin Bay, SA, including fresh and frozen products. The recall applies to all oysters produced in Coffin Bay, SA with production dates from and including 4 September 2021 up to and including 16 November 2021.

The oysters have been available for sale direct from oyster farms, seafood outlets, restaurants, grocery stores and supermarkets in SA, NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC, NT and WA.

What are the symptoms of gastroenteritis? 

Common symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever and headache. The elderly and immunocompromised individuals are at a greater risk of more severe health outcomes.  

Where were the oysters sold? 

Pacific oysters produced in Coffin Bay, SA may be purchased from accredited oyster growers, distributors, processors, restaurants and retailers.  Food regulators are conducting investigations to determine further distribution details.  

Can the oysters be eaten if they are cooked? 

No. Consumers should not eat these oysters even if they have been cooked. 

Are the oysters safe to eat if they have been frozen? 

No. Consumers should not eat these oysters even if they have been frozen. 

How are the oysters sold? 

The oysters may be in-shell or shucked, sold on trays, in bags or in bulk. 

What do consumers need to do? 

  • Consumers should not eat Pacific oysters produced in Coffin Bay, SA, including fresh and frozen products with production dates from and including 4 September 2021 up to and including 16 November 2021. 

  • Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice.

  • Consumers should dispose of the oysters or return the oysters to the place of purchase for a full refund. 

​What do restaurants and retailers need to know? 

  • Do not cook or freeze the affected product.

  • The product must be isolated and clearly marked for disposal or return.

  • Contact your supplier for further directions on disposal or return.

  • If you are unsure of what to do, contact your local food enforcement agency

What do distributors need to know? 

  • Distributers should isolate all affected product (from and including 4 September 2021 up to and including 16 November 2021) and dispose of it or return it in accordance with your Food Recall Plan or the directions of your supplier.

  • Contact all of your business customers that have received product and advise them of the recall.

  • Maintain cold storage and transport if returning products to the supplier.

  • Ensure that product traceability is maintained throughout the distribution chain.

  • If you are unsure of what to do, contact your local food enforcement agency.

More information

Coffin Bay Oyster Harvesting Area closed - PIRSA 

Increase in gastro cases linked to raw oysters - SA Health 

​Coffin Bay ​Oysters Recalled - SA Health​

Increase in gastroenteritis cases in WA linked to raw oysters - WA Health 

Gastroenteritis linked to raw oyster consumption - Victorian Department of Health

Public health alert: Raw Pacific oysters from Coffin Bay South Australia linked to NSW Vibrio parahaemolyticus outbreak - NSW Health 

Raw oyster consumption alert - ACT Health ​

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