Notice to Industry – Update – Temporary Requirement for Quality Management Program (QMP) Controls Related to Norovirus in BC Oysters

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May 11, 2017

This notice is an update to the March 7, 2017 notice to industry, which included a requirement for federally-registered shellfish processors in British Columbia (BC) to put in place additional control measures to manage the risk of Norovirus in BC oysters.

The Norovirus outbreak has been officially declared over by the federal and provincial authorities. The temporary requirement of additional control measures, including testing oysters for E. coli from source landfiles on a biweekly basis, is no longer in effect.

Even though this outbreak has been declared over, Norovirus is still a significant hazard in the production of live oysters. Registered shellfish processors are reminded of their responsibility to ensure shellfish products being produced are wholesome and are in compliance with the applicable sections of the Fish inspection Act and Fish Inspection Regulations. This includes reviewing Quality Management Program (QMP) Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plans, when new hazards are identified, and implementing appropriate control measures, as required.

Federal and provincial health authorities, in collaboration with industry, continue to review the health risks associated with the production of live oysters. Other control measures may eventually be implemented to further manage the risk of Norovirus.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is committed to working with industry, and its federal and provincial partners, as part of its continuous improvement of the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program, including enhanced measures to help manage the risk of illnesses associated with eating shellfish.

Local CFIA inspectors will continue to work with industry regarding landfiles affected by the outbreak and will be directing follow-up actions, as required.

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