East Coast Oyster Industry Crippled by Widespread Microbial Infection

Safe to eat?
Safe to eat? Photo: Hugh Merwin

Researchers are at a loss to explain the record levels of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, the bacterium responsible for the closure of oyster beds in six states including Massachusetts and Connecticut (also in France). The last month of closures and recalls has impacted some of the East Coast’s most well-known shellfish-producing regions, including Duxbury, home of Island Creek Oysters. University of New Hampshire researcher Vaughn Cooper says that the “historically new” data indicates better detection methods and reporting of food-borne illness, but also posits that recent warm weather and heavy rains have contributed to the widespread Vibrio infections. Still, Cooper doesn’t seem completely freaked: “I’ll be honest, I still eat them,” he tells the Boston Business Journal. “At this point it’s the spoils of the research.” [Boston Business Journal, Related]