Tassie shucks oyster slight

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 07 April 2013 | 19.55

TASMANIA'S reputation for seafood has taken a hit after the oyster contamination but can survive an isolated case, say industry leaders.

A gastroenteritis outbreak struck more than 200 people in Tasmania and Victoria after a sewerage line leaked near an oyster lease at Dunalley.

On Thursday night, viewers of The Footy Show heard remarks about Collingwood player Heath Shaw's gastro, which stopped him playing in last Sunday's match.

Panellists said he had eaten Tasmanian oysters.

Oyster pioneer Barilla Bay Seafoods recalled stock and destroyed harvested oysters.

Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council chief executive officer Neil Stump said action had been swift.

"The industry when alerted has acted promptly and put in the proper protocols and measures so, hopefully, consumers will be understanding this is not caused by the farmers," Dr Stump said.

"We're hoping for a bit of understanding."

Oyster-related gastro outbreaks interstate are not uncommon, but it was a first for Tasmania's commercial oyster industry, public health director Roscoe Taylor said.

Dr Taylor praised Barilla Bay's voluntary recall as a good example to business.

Oysters Tasmania executive officer Tom Lewis said public health bosses acted conservatively and everything had been done correctly.

Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said the case showed why water and sewerage reform was so important for health and environment.

"I think there's no question there's been some negative media around this," Mr Bacon said.

"We put in a lot of work to establish Tasmania's clean reputation for quality food right across the different types of produce and we want to see that continue."

Primary Industries and Water Minister Bryan Green said he was saddened.

"We fight so hard to make sure our seafood, our aquaculture industry, is sold around the world and it's disappointing we have affected oysters making people sick here and on the mainland," Mr Green said.

"The good thing is that we've been able to isolate the problem so people understand it's not a wider problem. This was an isolated incident, one we're now on top of, but it highlights how important it is we have water and sewerage reform. That will ensure our waters are and can remain pristine to provide for this fantastic industry."


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