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FDA bans Korean shellfish over contamination worries

The ban comes after US officials said that South Korea does not have adequate sanitation controls for safe shellfish and that there are significant health risks if consumed.

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The FDA banned the distribution of Korean shellfish Thursday after a contamination scare in the United States. (Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP/Getty Images)

Korean shellfish was banned for distribution in the US by the FDA Thursday.

The ban comes after US officials said that South Korea does not have adequate sanitation controls for safe shellfish and that there are significant health risks if consumed.

Officials say that there is a risk of contamination from water-borne pathogens such as the norovirus, which causes severe gastrointestinal issues.

It is now unlawful for a US retailer or food service operator to obtain any fresh or frozen Korean shellfish, reported the Washington Post.

The ban specifically targets oysters, clams, mussels and scallops.

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There has yet to be any recently reported illnesses caused by Korean shellfish.

“We’re not aware of any sicknesses at the moment. There have been investigations of illness outbreaks which have been linked back to Korean seafood in the past,” said Alan Brench, chief of food emergency response and planning at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, reported the Washington Post.

“One would have to extrapolate [from the new ban] that FDA has to be doing some back-checking.”

MPR reported that last fall three people in Seattle got sick after eating oysters from South Korea.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120517/fda-bans-korean-shellfish-after-contamination-scare