two licenses issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife
and Fisheries is usually necessary for the purchase and resale
of oysters in Louisiana. The $250 Wholesale/Retail
Seafood Dealers License allows the license holder
to buy seafood products directly from licensed harvesters
and from other Wholesale/Retail Seafood Dealer License holders.
No restrictions exist on who holders of this license may sell
seafood products to. The $100 Retail Seafood Dealers
License allows the holder to purchase seafood only
from Wholesale/Retail Seafood Dealers License holders and
sell only to the public. Restaurants selling seafood are exempt
from the purchase of dealer licenses except for those serving
raw fish products such as sushi or sashimi. These restaurants
must purchase a Retail Seafood Dealers License.
or businesses that shuck oysters to sell to another dealer
for resale must possess a Shucker-packer Permit from
the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. A seafood
retailer may shuck oysters at the place of business, but only
for sale to the public. These oysters cannot be prepackaged
into closed containers except at the time of sale to the ultimate
consumer. They must be displayed in the service case or stored
in the cooler in an open container. They may also be sold
on the half-shell.
must be tagged, whether in containers or sacks. Unshucked
oysters must be tagged with the harvester’s name, address,
license number, area harvested and the harvest date. Containers
of shucked oysters must be dated and have the name and address
of the original processor, shucker-packer or repacker, and
the Louisiana certification number. All tags must be kept
for 90 days. Zero tolerance exists for untagged oyster containers
or sacks. Any untagged or improperly tagged container or sack
will be considered to have been taken from polluted waters
and deemed a health hazard. Oysters must be kept in the container
in which they were received until they are used, except that
retailers may place them in a display container. Oysters from
different lots may not be comingled (mixed).
may contain bacteria (Vibrio vulnificus) that can
cause serious illness when eaten raw. These bacteria can grow
rapidly at high nonrefrigerated temperatures. Proper storage
is critical to control the growth of these harmful bacteria.
Containers of shucked oysters should be stored at 32 - 38
°F, ideally packed in ice. Temperatures that low may kill
a live oyster, so unshucked oysters should be stored at
40 - 45 °F. Fluctuations in temperature must be avoided.
Live oysters should be stored away from the door of the cooler,
where temperatures rise every time the door is opened. Live
oysters should never be stored in direct contact with ice,
in plastic bags or in water because the oysters will die.
shucked and unshucked oysters it is important to rotate the
stock. Use the oldest oysters first to prevent spoilage of
shucked oysters and gapping in live oysters. Gapped oysters
are those with their shell open. If a gapped oyster closes
its shell when tapped by an oyster knife, it is fine and may
be used. If it doesn’t close its shell, it is dead and
should be discarded. A certain amount of gapped oysters can
be expected in any delivery, especially in summer months when
heat stresses live oysters.
may be sold by volume, weight or count (number). Oysters sold
by count must include weight on the container except at the
retail level. Louisiana law allows for up to 15 percent free
liquid in any volume container of shucked oysters.
that sell or serve raw oysters must display signs, menu notices,
table tents or other clearly visible messages with the following
wording: THERE MAY BE A RISK ASSOCIATED WITH CONSUMING RAW
SHELLFISH AS IS THE CASE WITH OTHER RAW PROTEIN PRODUCTS.
IF YOU SUFFER FROM CHRONIC ILLNESS OF THE LIVER, STOMACH OR
BLOOD OR HAVE OTHER IMMUNE DISORDERS, YOU SHOULD EAT THESE
PRODUCTS FULLY COOKED. This message must also appear on the
principal display panel and top of containers of shucked oysters
and on the tags of sacks or containers of unshucked oysters.
post-harvest treatments have been developed to reduce Vibrio
vulnificus bacteria to non-detectable levels without
cooking the oyster. The process treatments that are recognized
by the State Health Officer include high pressure processing
(HPP), low-temperature pasteurization, and proper freezing
processes. These post-harvest treatments were developed in
Louisiana, and raw, untreated oysters are readily available.
Establishments that serve only raw oysters that have been
treated by these post-harvest treatments may apply in writing
to the State Health Officer for an exemption from the mandatory
consumer notification requirement.