Unrefrigerated oysters seized at two points of sale
More than 4,400 pounds of unrefrigerated oysters would have reached the mouths of Southwest Florida consumers were it not for the diligence of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers.
In two seemingly unrelated incidents, FWC officers arrested three unlicensed people attempting to sell oysters that had not been stored in accordance with state health standards. However, markings on the bags showed that oysters in both seizures originally came from the same shipment.
On Feb. 23, an FWC officer on patrol in Hendry County saw a man by the side of the road advertising Louisiana oysters for sale. The officer found 14 bags of oysters in a cargo trailer without refrigeration or ice. He charged William R. Kersey Jr. (DOB 02/01/1974) of 311 Clark St., LaBelle, with selling saltwater products without a retail license and with violating quality-control regulations. The officer seized and destroyed approximately 1,100 pounds of oysters in that incident.
On Feb. 24, an FWC officer conducting commercial fish house inspections on Estero Island in Lee County found two men and a juvenile attempting to sell oysters to a local fish house. The officer discovered 41 bags of oysters without refrigeration or ice in the rear of a pickup and in an open trailer. Dean T. Daniels (DOB 08/03/1963) of 38 W. Carmack Dr., Chalmette, La., claimed that his refrigerated truck broke down while transporting the oysters from his fish house in Louisiana. The officer charged Daniels and Jeremy Kennedy (DOB 02/02/1988) of 4003 Cascade Lane, LaBelle, with attempting to sell saltwater products without a wholesale dealer’s license and with quality-control violations.
FWC officers and Florida Department of Agriculture agents routinely inspect licensed fish dealers in Florida to ensure that high standards for consumer products are met. The FWC reminds consumers never to purchase seafood from an unlicensed dealer. Licenses must be posted in open view for consumers.