Another day, another dire warning about food that you probably should avoid for a while. Last week the FDA and CDC told everyone to stop eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, which was terrible news for cereal lovers from coast to coast, but today it’s seafood fanatics who are feeling the sting. Well, maybe not sting, but they’re definitely feeling something, and it isn’t good.
According to a new bulletin released by the CDC, crab meat being shipped to the United States from Venezuela has been linked to and outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which is a particularly nasty little bacteria that can cause dramatic gastrointestinal problems if you happen to be infected with it.
Crab meat shipped from a Venezuelan distributor has already been implicated in a dozen confirmed cases of infection, with the majority of the cases coming from Maryland. Four of the individuals have ended up in the hospital due to their symptoms.
According to the FDA, the crab meat doesn’t necessarily seem sketchy at first glance, and it “may look, smell, and taste normal” despite being contaminated with the bacteria. However, if you consume enough of it to become infected, you’ll begin to notice the symptoms within about a day. Those symptoms can include diarrhea, cramping, nausea, fever, generalized stomach discomfort, and vomiting. Those who experience diarrhea may also notice blood in their stool. Yeah, it’s not great.
The crab meat in question may be fresh or even pre-cooked by the time it arrives in the United States, either to grocery stores or to restaurants. The FDA is advising consumers to avoid imported crab meat unless they can be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that it did not come from Venezuela. If consumers or restaurants believe they may have contaminated crab meat on-hand they are advised to throw it away immediately and thoroughly wash and sanitize anything the product may have come in contact with.
If you believe you may have eaten contaminated crab meat without knowing, and are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus, it’s obviously a good idea to contact your doctor or health care provider as soon as possible.