Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers

Final Update

This outbreak investigation is over. However, Vibrio is an important cause of illness in the United States. For information on steps people can take to reduce their risk of Vibrio infection from crab meat, read the Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers.

Advice to Consumers

Crab meat may contain Vibrio or other harmful germs. Follow these food safety tips to help prevent infection when using fresh, ready-to-eat crab meat:

  • When buying fresh crab meat – especially for use in cold dishes that do not need further cooking, such as crab salad – look for the word “pasteurized” on the label.
    • Fresh crab meat may be labeled as “fresh” or “precooked” and is a ready-to-eat product. It is often sold in refrigerated plastic containers.
    • Pasteurization is the process of heating a product to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to kill illness-causing germs.
  • When preparing a hot dish containing fresh crab meat, such as crab cakes, crab dip, and crab casserole, use a food thermometer to make sure the dish is cooked to the safe minimum temperature of 165°F.
    • Reheat leftovers to the safe minimum temperature of 165°F as measured by a food thermometer.
  • Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling or preparing dishes using fresh crab meat.
  • Always follow the four steps to food safety – clean, separate, cook, and chill – to help prevent infection.
  • If you think you became sick after eating contaminated crab meat, contact your health care provider.

Additional Advice for Restaurants and Retailers

  • Follow the steps below to help prevent spreading bacteria around your kitchens and contaminating other foods:
    • Wash hands with warm water and soap before and after cleaning and sanitizing.
    • Clean and sanitize any reusable containers used to hold crab meat.
    • Clean and sanitize any food contact surfaces and utensils that come into contact with crab meat.

More information for crab meat processors and distributors is available on FDA’s websiteExternal.

More information about Vibrio and prevention is available on CDC’s Vibrio Species Causing Vibriosis website.