Oysters have been a subject of concern for seafood enthusiasts and health authorities in Helsinki and elsewhere in Finland, after around 170 people reported becoming ill after eating oysters between February and March. Nine batches of oysters have been found to contain Norovirus, with the latest discoveries coming in early March. The oysters were imported from various sources, including two from the Netherlands, six from France, and one from Ireland. The importers have since withdrawn these batches from the market.

It is important to note that consuming raw oysters is always a risk, even if not all oysters are contaminated. Oysters filter and accumulate Norovirus from fecally-contaminated water, which is a risk for human consumption. Quick heating does not necessarily destroy the virus, as the virus is destroyed when the food is heated to +90 degrees Celsius for two minutes.

Restaurants cannot detect Norovirus in oysters. Thus, if oysters are contaminated with Norovirus, diners can become ill, and the virus can spread easily in families and other contacts.

A report on the epidemic will be submitted to the Finnish Food Authority and the National Institute for Health and Welfare. All known individuals who have fallen ill will receive a written report on the event.

If you suspect that you have become ill after eating at a restaurant or purchasing food from a store, please fill out an electronic food poisoning form. If a customer reports food poisoning to a food industry operator, the operator has a legal obligation to notify the local food control authority without delay. Please make a report at https://ilppa.fi.