Across the nation, millions of Americans love the rich and succulent flavors of the Gulf of Mexico oysters. Available throughout the year, the shellfish provide decadence without the guilt as a low-calorie protein that is an excellent source of zinc, vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids.
The Gulf of Mexico waters produce the world’s best oysters due to the nutrient-rich waters in which they were raised and harvested, yielding more than 500 million pounds of in-shell oysters each year. The Gulf Coast oyster community currently produces nearly 65 percent of all oysters commercially harvested in the United States.
The oysters from the Gulf Coast are delightful to enjoy both raw and cooked. However, it’s important for oyster enthusiasts to understand the potential risk associated with eating raw shellfish, including Gulf of Mexico oysters.
Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria that normally lives in warm, salty seawater and can be contracted by consuming raw seafood or allowing an exposed wound to come in contact with affected water. In at-risk consumers, such as those with liver disease, diabetes or a weakened immune system, vibrio vulnificus can be life threatening.
Restaurants serving oysters must visibly post the following statement in two of three spots--on one of the walls and either on each menu or at each table:
There may be a risk associated with consuming raw shellfish as is the case with other raw protein products. If you suffer from chronic illness of the liver, stomach or blood or have other immune disorders, you should eat these products fully cooked.
The LRA makes these signs available to members both printed and electronic as a member service.To print a copy, click on the document below.
Gulf of Mexico oysters are delectable any way you enjoy them—raw, baked, broiled, chargrilled, fried and everything in between. The LRA encourages at-risk consumers to enjoy Gulf of Mexico oysters fully-cooked.