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The OC Health Care Agency Cautions Residents About Consuming Imported Raw Oysters

Press Release

(Santa Ana, CA)  –  The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) Environmental Health Division is encouraging consumers to be cautious when consuming raw oysters due to reported cases of norovirus illness in surrounding counties, which are linked to raw oysters imported from a specific harvest in northwest Mexico. 

Last week health officials in San Diego County reported 41 confirmed and probable cases of norovirus illness, and Los Angeles County reported 27 cases of gastrointestinal illness linked to raw oysters consumed in local restaurants. 
The cases began in mid-December following reports diners consumed raw oysters from Sonora, Mexico. These specific oysters have only been available through restaurants and wholesale locations (including some restaurants located in Orange County). The HCA’s Environmental Health Division (EH) is asking restaurants to set aside “Rocky Point oysters” packed by GOLPAC located in Bahia Salina, Sonora, Mexico until further notice. Restaurants or others who purchased oysters from this location are asked to not use them while an investigation of this outbreak takes place. EH also recommends that anyone ordering raw oysters in a restaurant inquire and verify where the product originated, before consuming.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is investigating the cases to confirm the source of this cluster of gastrointestinal illness.

During the investigation, EH warns residents, particularly those most vulnerable such as children under 5 years of age, older adults, and people who are immunocompromised, of the risks of consuming raw oysters. Eating raw oysters has been linked to outbreaks with such germs as Vibrio, Shigella, and E. coli, in addition to norovirus. If you eat raw or undercooked oysters, germs in the oyster can make you sick.  

“Until the source is confirmed, consumers should be cautious before eating raw oysters,” said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, HCA’s Chief of Public Health Services and County Health Officer. “If you are sick, avoid further contamination from occurring in your home by washing your hands frequently and cleaning frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, and kitchen countertops.”

People infected with norovirus generally develop nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, and body aches approximately 12 to 48 hours after consuming contaminated foods. The illness typically lasts for 1-3 days. The vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration requiring medical attention.

If you believe that you became sick from eating or drinking something, seek medical attention and/or notify your primary care provider. Please also file a report with EH by emailing or call (714) 433-6418.

Press Release - Golpac - Raw Oysters Warning


The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) is a regional interdisciplinary health jurisdiction and an accredited health department, charged with protecting and promoting individual, family and community health through partnership and coordination of public and private sector resources. Visit to learn more about services and resources.