More than three-quarters of British-grown oysters contain norovirus, new research has found.
The study, conducted on behalf of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), discovered that 76 per cent of oysters tested from UK oyster growing beds had traces of the infectious bug.
The FSA said it was ”difficult” to assess the potential health impact of the findings, as researchers were unable to differentiate between infectious and non-infectious norovirus material in the shellfish.
However, it said the results of the study would be used as part of a review by the European Food Safety Authority, which is to advise the European Commission on what a legal safe level for norovirus in oysters should be.
Currently a safe limit for the highly infectious virus, commonly know as the ”winter vomiting bug”, has not been established.
Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at the Food Standards Agency, said: ”This research is the first of its kind in the UK. It will be important to help improve the knowledge of the levels of norovirus found in shellfish at production sites.
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