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New Zealand Oysters safe, says Industry

New Zealand Oysters safe, says Industry

Media Release - 30 June 2006

The New Zealand oyster industry is assuring the public of the safety of New Zealand oysters. It is concerned about implications for the industry after findings that imported Korean oysters were the cause of the recent Norovirus outbreak at the Ireland-All Blacks’ game at Eden Park.

“We urge the public to choose New Zealand oysters. They can be confident that high standards have been met in providing a safe and delicious product,” said Callum McCallum, Chairman of New Zealand’s Aquaculture Council and CEO of Clevedon Coast Oysters.

“However, we’re frustrated at the lack of action on imported products by authorities, despite industry advice of potential problems. This is not the first outbreak of Norovirus in New Zealand attributable to Korean oysters. If imported foods can’t meet the same requirements that we face here, then they just shouldn’t be allowed.“

There are rigorous standards for New Zealand suppliers and the same should apply to outside suppliers, Mr McCallum said. Oysters from two New Zealand pacific oyster suppliers consumed at the event tested negative for Norovirus. Eighty-one people developed vomiting and diarrhoea after eating at the hospitality areas at Eden Park throughout the recent Ireland-All Blacks' game.

The highly infectious Norovirus was found in imported Korean oysters which were served raw and came from the same batch as those served at the function.

Australia banned imports of oysters from the Republic of Korea in October 2004 due to concerns over Norovirus outbreaks associated with contaminated Korean oysters.

ENDS

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