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OK, local oysters are back on tap for Oysterfest! Ignore that earlier thing!
“Hiya,” Arcata Main Street Executive Director Jeanette Todd messages us. “Local oysters are back on! They just lifted the local ban! They meaning the State of CA.”
Scott Sterner of North Bay Shellfish tells the Outpost that he got the call from a California Department of Public Health scientist just after 9 a.m. today. Sterner says that he was told that a test result that nearly junked all Humboldt Bay oysters harvested since Tuesday turned out to be in error. The test initially showed high levels of bacteria in local oyster samples, but it was apparently wrong.
Oysters are being harvested again all around the bay. It’s been a hectic few hours for Sterner — and all other local oysterfolk — but he tells the Outpost he’s back on track.
“We’re right in the middle of trying to resurrect again and finish harvesting the oysters,” he said.
It’s unclear exactly what the mistake was. The Outpost reached out to Sam Rankin, an environmental scientist with California Department of Public Health and the man who told Sterner that the recall had been rescinded. Rankin wouldn’t confirm or deny any of this, but said that he would refer our inquiries to his colleagues on the public information desk. We’ll update if/when that call ever comes through. (UPDATE: A person with the CDPH did call us back and then gave us a different number to call.)
“We were hoping to sell local oysters at the local Oysterfest,” Rankin says. “It seemed wrong not to have that happen. But we’re only part of it. We try to provide a safe product to the people, and follow all the rules.”