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UPDATE: Uncooked Shrimp Can Contain Harmful Bacteria

Posted on in Food Poisoning

Uncooked Shrimp Can Contain Harmful Bacteria

UPDATE: While the outbreak discussed below involved a brand of shrimp that was contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria, there are multiple other types of foodborne illnesses that may be spread through raw or pre-cooked shrimp. These include Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio alginolyticus, and Vibrio cholerae. Shrimp have also been found to contain bacillus bacteria, as well as salmonella and E. coli.

Consumption of food contaminated with Vibrio bacteria can lead to vibriosis. While this form of food poisoning is often mild, it can result in serious illness in some cases. Symptoms of vbriosis include abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, and chills. Vibriosis due to Vibrio vulnificus infections can be especially serious, and victims may require hospitalization and intensive care, as well as amputation of a limb. These infections result in death in around 20% of cases.

Consumption of Vibrio cholerae bacteria can lead to cholera, a serious intestinal disease. Around 10 percent of people who contract cholera suffer from severe symptoms, including watery diarrhea, vomiting, leg cramps, and dehydration. If prompt treatment is not provided, this dehydration may lead to liver failure.

The symptoms of food poisoning related to shrimp can be severe, and in addition to becoming seriously ill, a person may experience ongoing health issues that will affect their long-term well-being. At Newland & Newland, LLP, we can help a victim of food poisoning take legal action against a food manufacturer or restaurant that has put them at risk due to contaminated shrimp or other food products. Contact our Illinois food poisoning lawyers at 312-981-0409 to schedule a free consultation today.

There are cultures in which raw shrimp is considered a delicacy. However, food scientists do not recommend eating raw shrimp because of the risk of food poisoning. Shrimp can carry bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Normally, cooking shrimp will be enough to kill the contaminants that naturally appear, making them safe to eat. However, pre-cooked shrimp served and sold in retail establishments have been known to carry bacteria and viruses that can cause people to become ill upon eating them.

Cooked Shrimp Recalled Due to Bacteria

In March, AFC Distribution Corp. recalled its Cooked Butterfly Tail-On Whiteleg Shrimp because it may have been contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The shrimp were used as an ingredient for sushi sold at retailers in dozens of states, including Illinois. There were no reported illnesses related to the shrimp at the time of the recall.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacteria found in saltwater and raw shellfish. Symptoms typically last up to seven days and may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headaches

An average, healthy adult can usually recover from Vibrio parahaemolyticus without requiring any additional treatment. People with pre-existing conditions that weaken their immune systems are at greater risk of suffering serious or even deadly effects from the bacteria. Freezing does not kill the bacteria. Only thoroughly cooking the shrimp is known to kill it.

Safety with Shellfish

All shellfish are dangerous to consume raw or undercooked because of the bacteria that they naturally ingest. If you are someone with a weakened immune system, it may be best to avoid eating shellfish. When preparing shellfish on your own, you must be careful to thoroughly cook it so that it is safe to eat:

  • When you are cooking the shellfish, its shell should crack open if it is thoroughly cooked.
  • Once you notice the shell has cracked open, you should still continue cooking it for several more minutes.
  • Do not eat shellfish that you find with its shell already cracked open before cooking because it may be contaminated.
  • If you have removed the shell before cooking, the shellfish should become opaque and firm when it is done.

Contact an Illinois Food Poisoning Lawyer

You should immediately see a doctor if you have become ill after eating shellfish. You should also talk to an Illinois food poisoning attorney at Newland & Newland, LLP, about whether you can receive compensation from the party that sold or prepared the shellfish. To schedule a consultation, call 312-981-0409.


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