Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) is a naturally occurring bacteria found in marine waters. Molluscan bivalve shellfish acquire Vp through filter feeding. Humans who consume raw or undercooked shellfish containing Vp can develop an intestinal disease called Vibriosis.
In 2021, there were a high number of vibriosis cases involving Washington shellfish largely due to very high temperatures during the summer months.
The department expects this trend to continue. This indicates a need to review the rule requirements to determine if the current controls are adequate to protect consumers and consider more proactive measures to prevent illness and protect public health. Revisions could include a combination of requirements based on environmental factors to determine the safety of shellfish prior to harvest and consumption.
The State Board of Health is therefore considering revisions to the chapter to modify harvest control requirements by setting more proactive measures to prevent illnesses and protect public health. The rule revision may also include updating definitions, seed size and other technical and editorial changes as needed.
To stay informed about this rulemaking and other Vp related information, sign up for Vibrio email notices.
Dani Toepelt, Shellfish Licensing & Certification Section Manager, 360-236-3347
Stuart Glasoe, State Board of Health, 360-236-4111