Oysters Declared Unsafe By Texas Senate - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/4/07-Longview

Oysters Declared Unsafe By Texas Senate

The Texas senate approved a measure declaring oysters to be an "inherently unsafe product". The legislation states that a manufacturer or seller can't be held liable for illness.

"I've been eating oysters for probably 60 years and never got sick," said Longview resident David Harwell.

But for certain individuals, eating a raw oyster that is contaminated with bacteria could be deadly. "If you have a chronic problem of the liver, stomach, blood or have immune disorder, you're at greater risk of illness from raw oysters and should eat them fully cooked," said Johnny Cace's Seafood And Steakhouse owner Gerard Cace.

One of the specialties of the restaurant is raw oysters. "I sell about 40 - 50 sacks per week," said Cace.

The state requires restaurants to have a disclaimer for consumers about the dangers of eating raw oysters.  Restaurants either have a sign or it is written in their menu. 

If legislators approve House Bill 1663, the law would protect restaurants from being sued if someone gets sick after eating oysters.  "All this does is that as long as they're notifying people, they have liability protection," said Senator Kevin Eltife.

Dudley's Cajun Café also serves raw oysters. The owner, Dudley Lang, says Texas oysters meet stringent state and federal regulations.  But just to be on the safe side, "If you're gonna eat it, the best time to eat it is during winter months, when the water's cold and there's no bacteria growing on them," said Lang.  

He says in Louisiana, where he was raised, there's a saying: only eat oysters during the months that have the letter "r" in it.  The house has until May 22nd to approve the legislation.  

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.  ortega@kltv.com

 

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