Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium found in contaminated raw seafood, particularly oysters. In people with compromised immune systems, Vibrio vulnificus can cause sepsis, infection of the blood stream. Vibrio vulnificus blood infections are fatal about 50% of the time.
Because of the risk of serious illness and death, a number of states require restaurants serving raw oysters to warn customers about the danger. In order to be effective, these warnings should be conspicuous, understandable and provide sufficient detail about the hazards and dangers that will follow if the warning is not heeded.
The problem is that many menu “consumer advisories” are vague and provide little information about food safety risks. See, for example, this language often found in very small print in restaurant menus:
Consumer Advisory: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions.
Contrast that with language from one restaurant chain that reads as follows:
There is a risk associated with consuming raw oysters or any raw animal protein. If you have a chronic illness of the liver, stomach or blood or have immune disorders, you are at greater risk of serious illness from raw oysters and should eat oysters fully cooked. If unsure of your risk, consult a physician.
If you or a loved one suffered illness or death resulting from consuming oysters adulterated with Vibrio vulnificus and there was no effective menu warning, you should contact us for a free consultation about your case.