The Louisiana Departments of Health and Hospitals, and Wildlife and Fisheries announced two new rules regarding the commercial harvest of oysters intended for raw consumption. These new rules are in effect daily and will help ensure the safety of oysters intended for raw consumption and simplify harvesting practices to support Louisiana’s fisheries. The new rules require two major changes to the way oysters are currently harvested:
1. Harvesters fishing for white tag oysters, those oysters intended to be eaten raw, must attach a tag or label on all containers holding shell-stock, with the corresponding lot identification number or character printed legibly on the tag or label, if they are placed in a cooler an hour or more after harvest. This tag or label shall be approved by the state health officer at the Department of Health and Hospitals and the secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
2. Additionally, the new rules require that if oysters are being harvested for multiple tags, the fisher or harvester must treat all oysters as they do the most restrictive kind of product on their vessel. For example, if they are harvesting white and green tag oysters, they must treat all oysters like white-tag oysters.
The full rules can be found here. These rules were supported by restaurant owners and by fishermen, seafood processors and biologists who comprise the Louisiana Oyster Task Force.