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Hot Take: It Is Safer to Eat Raw Oysters than Fresh Vegetables

eric12231

2 min read

Dec 18, 2023

609

6

Spend just a little time online and you'll be way overserved risky oyster headlines.




If you do a search on nearly anything related to eating oysters you’ll be shelled with tons of frightening stories about flesh eating bacteria and warnings about the riskiness inherent in eating raw oysters. I’m here to point out that just because it says so in a Google recap on top of a search results page doesn’t make it true. 


Surely you can’t support your hot take with cold hard data


The CDC does not track actual illnesses caused by consuming raw oysters. Their data is only an estimate, not a true accounting of a causal relationship between oysters and food poisoning. What the CDC estimates is that 80,000 people in the US get sick from a bad oyster every year.


You’re already spoiling you own hot take


Well not so fast. The CDC also estimates that every year 48,000,000 US residents get food poisoning. In a country of almost 350,000,000 that means 1 in 6 people who ate food (presumably all of us) got food poisoning in the past 12 months. Compare that to the illness rate for oysters. Of course, not all of us eat them. There’s another study conducted by Mississippi State University that claimed to find 43% of Americans eat raw oysters. That sounds too high, doesn’t it? Let’s go with a super conservative estimate that 10% of the population eats raw oysters. 35,000,000 American oyster eaters and an estimated 80,000 cases of illness that may be attributed to eating a bad oyster returns this math: 1 in 438 of our oyster eating neighbors were sickened by a bad oyster in the past 12 months.


Let’s recap those stats


Chance of food poisoning in the US: 1 in 7 people who eat food. Chance of oyster borne food poisoning in the US: only 1 of 438 oyster eaters.


Q.E.D. Eating raw oysters is over 60X safer than feeding from the US general food supply!


Fine, but you said eating raw oysters is safer than eating my veggies


Thank you for reminding me to circle back to my original take. All food groups may cause food borne illness and veggies are by far and away the most dangerous. Guess which food group is least dangerous? Yup, shellfish.



Disclaimer


I am a simple oyster farmer with a liberal arts degree that included a healthy dose of math but no specialty let alone advanced degrees in health or medicine. Any resemblance to Dr. Fauci is purely coincidental.

eric12231

2 min read

Dec 18, 2023

609

6

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