Assessment of Shellfish Practices in Licensed Retail Food Establishments in Response to Increased Vibrio Illnesses in a Landlocked Area

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Cases of non-cholera Vibrio illness are typically associated with exposure to shellfish from marine coastal areas (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 2009), not landlocked states such as Colorado. In 2004, a 2.8-fold increase in the incidence of non-cholera Vibrio cases in the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) jurisdiction of Colorado prompted scrutiny of shellfish practices in local retail food establishments. Forty-three percent of establishments serving raw shellfish in the TCHD jurisdiction were in violation of one or more sections of the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2007a). The frequency of violations and the underutilization of safer, post-harvest processed shellfish may result in significant hazards to consumers if these practices continue.

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