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Some South Korean seafood may be removed from shelves

2012/06/15 20:25:44

Taipei, June 15 (CNA) Taiwan might remove certain South Korean seafood products from store shelves after the U.S. Food and DrugAdministration (FDA) warned that they may be contaminated withnoroviruses, Taiwan health authorities said Friday.

In a statement released by the U.S. agency Thursday, it said South Korean oysters, clams, mussels, or scallops must be pulledfrom store shelves.

At least four people in the U.S. have become sick after eating South Korean seafood -- three in October and one in December, the FDA report noted.

In Taiwan, 24 people have reportedly experienced nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains and diarrhea after eating such products from South Korea at Eatogther chain restaurants since late May.

Feng Jun-lan, an official with Taiwan's Department of Health (DOH), said the DOH is investigating whether the company's imported items came from the same sources as the contaminated products found in the U.S.

The DOH has also sought to gain an understanding of details regarding shipment inspections via several channels, including the South Korean representative office in Taiwan, but no conclusion has been reached, Feng added.

The department also asked Taiwan's representative office in Korea to gather information on pollution in South Korean waters, the official said.

Initial investigation showed that the food poisoning cases in Taiwan are linked to eating uncooked oysters shipped from South Korea.Checks on Eatogther restaurants in Taipei and Taichung found irregularities in sanitation, including a pileup of waste in kitchens and inadequate refrigeration of seafood.

The FDA's statement was issued following a comprehensive evaluation that determined the Korean Shellfish Sanitation Program no longer met the sanitation controls spelled out under the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, the U.S. agency said.

Due to inadequate sanitation controls, shellfish harvested from South Korean waters may have been exposed to human fecal waste and may therefore be contaminated with noroviruses, the FDA added.

Apart from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps, affected individuals often experience chills, headaches, muscle aches anda general sense of tiredness, according to the FDA.

(By Chen Ching-fang and Kendra Lin)