By Sigrid Weidenweber
Although I love food, I do not have often an interest in its production. But, yes, dear readers your eyes have not deceived you—I am writing about oysters and herpes. On Wednesday, May 22, 2019 an article in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye that may have eluded your ken. Amid articles about sports, politics and art—this one stirred my imagination.
European oysters carry the OsHV-1 herpes virus that kills all raised juvenile stock, with a 90% mortality rate. It does not sicken people. However, it could ruin the American oyster industry if it were to arrive on our shores. I love oysters. Small wonder that the report from Michael and Isabel Osinski instantly evoked the horror of an oyster-less life. It seems all species of the delicious bi-valves are susceptible to this virus—killer of breeding stock.
In 2008 America banned shellfish imports from the EU because of an infestation with the norovirus. The new imports of bi-valves are scheduled for the market in the next months.
Although the imports are for consumption in restaurants, contamination of American waters will occur with certainty, because of shell-recycling programs and the habits of careless diners to throw the shells into the waters below stilted shore restaurants.
The Osinski’s, trying to prevent trouble for their industry, contacted the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection, and were told that USDA does not consider oysters to be animals. Strange!
The Osinkis started a petition on the East Coast to keep EU oysters out of our country. We tried to find said petition to sign but could not find neither a site nor a link.
Sigrid Weidenweber grew up in communist East Berlin, escaping it using a French passport. Ms. Weidenweber holds a degree in medical technology as well as psychology and has course work in Anthropology. She is co-founder of Aid for Afghans. Weidenweber has traveled the world and lived with Pakistani Muslims, learning about the culture and religion. She is a published author and lecturer. You can find her books on Amazon.com