Baton Rouge—The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a series of public meetings next week to provide critical information on current rules and changes that will affect the oyster harvesting, dealing and processing communities in Louisiana.
In May, an emergency rule went into effect that changed the way oysters can be harvested. The new rule places restrictions on the amount of time it takes to refrigerate restricted-use products. "Restricted use products" are oysters that receive a green tag and are used for shucking or post-harvest processing. The new rule mandates that December through February, oysters must be refrigerated within 24 hours of harvesting, in March-May and October-November, 18 hours, and June-September, 12 hours.
The rule change is a result of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program's Model Ordinance, which governs oyster sales nationwide. Louisiana is making this change to ensure oysters harvested in state are safe to eat, and to lower consumers' risk of foodborne illnesses from oysters.
Oyster fishermen, dealers and processors are encouraged to attend these free workshops.
The workshops will also cover training topics including harvesting tags and requirements, refrigeration and cooler information, and enforcement policies and procedures regarding these requirements.
The training dates, times and venues are as follows:
6 - 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 26
Houma Municipal Auditorium
800 Verret Street
Houma, La 70360
*Spanish translator provided
6 - 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 27
Belle Chasse Auditorium
8442 Highway 23
Belle Chasse, La 70037
*Vietnamese translator provided
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's blog, Twitter account and Facebook.