Florida approves zapping oysters with radiation to kill bacteria

— Irradiated oysters may be coming soon to an oyster bar near you.

Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson said Friday that the state has licensed a Mulberry-based company to use a procedure designed to zap oysters with a small dose of radiation that reduces the amount of harmful bacteria without damaging their flavor and appearance.

A bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus is found in oysters and seawater during warm months and can cause serious illness or death if consumed by someone with liver disease or other immune disorders.

The oysters are prepackaged on pallets that are treated with a controlled amount of radiation for a very short time.

Bronson said it's first facility of its kind in the country.

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