Why are oysters risky?
Oysters are the natural filter of the sea. They receive nutrients by pumping water through their digestive system. In the process, they filter harmful substances out of the water.
That filtration makes eating oysters dangerous for humans because harmful bacteria, viruses or other pathogens can build up in the oyster’s tissues. If you eat raw or undercooked oysters, those germs can be passed on to you.
Vibrio bacteria and raw oysters
Recently, a man in the US died after eating raw oysters, the culprit likely being the bacteria vibrio vulnificus.
Infection with vibrio vulnificus can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, and chills. In severe cases, like when juices from raw oysters get on an open wound, it can cause a serious cannibal infection. However, death from vibrio vulnificus is quite rare.
The best way to eat oysters safely
Dr. Mary Ellen Phipps, nutritionist, founder of the Milk & Honey Nutrition Center (USA), explains: Eating raw oysters poses a risk of foodborne illness and there is no way to detect if your baby Which oysters contain disease-causing bacteria?
According to Dr. Phipps, the only way to reduce the risk of disease is to cook oysters to 63 degrees Celsius before eating, according to Dr. Verywell Health.
Opened oysters should be thrown away before cooking. Shelled oysters can be boiled or steamed until the oysters open. Shelled oysters should be grilled or boiled for at least 3 minutes to ensure they reach the proper temperature.
Is it safe to eat raw oysters?
Dr. Phipps warns that all “tricks” for eating raw oysters – like adding hot sauce, lime juice or wine – don’t kill the vibrio vulnificus bacteria.
Spicy or acidic condiments such as mustard, chutney, lemon juice, vinegar, and alcohol may not kill all the bacteria and viruses that cause disease in oysters.
According to nutritionist Toby Amidor, a food safety consultant working in New York (USA), some people should avoid raw oysters completely, including the elderly, children under 6 years old, pregnant women and breast-feeding, people taking medication and people with sensitive intestinal tracts or weak immunity, according to Verywell Health.