Title page for ETD etd-07102008-202016

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Oestringer, Amy Leah
URN etd-07102008-202016
Title An Evaluation of the Perceived Obstacles for Policy Officials Regulating the Post Harvest Treatment of Raw Oysters to Control the Human Health Vibrio vulnificus Problem
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Environmental Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Margaret Reams Committee Chair
Aixin Hou Committee Member
Nina Lam Committee Member
  • Vibrio vulnificus
  • oysters
  • raw oysters
  • post-harvest processing
  • Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference
Date of Defense 2008-07-08
Availability unrestricted
Vibrio vulnificus is the leading pathogen linked to seafood-associated deaths. This naturally occurring marine bacterium presents a human health risk when it is consumed in raw oysters. Hospitalization is necessary in 90 % Vibrio vulnificus illnesses and 40% end in death. (CDC) Several guidelines and regulations have been enacted to combat this human health issue, but have failed to reduce the steadily rising illness rate. Post-harvest processing requirements for raw oysters could be used to reduce illness rates. A survey was conducted to measure the perceived obstacles that regulators and industry representatives of the raw oyster industry face in policymaking to implement more stringent post harvest requirements. Members of the Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and California departments of health and fisheries were surveyed as well as restaurant owners across Louisiana. By examining the attitudes and perceptions of both of these groups of stakeholders, better methods of policy implementation can be derived. The objectives of this thesis are to determine if previous education efforts are reaching the industry representatives, to determine what the perceived obstacles to implantation of more stringent post-harvest processing standards are and to determine how perceptions among regulators and industry affiliates vary. The data showed that perceptions among these stakeholders diverged on several obstacles. Education efforts were shown to be ineffective alone. Resistance to additional regulation by the oyster industry was indicated as a major obstacle to the implementation of post harvest processing requirements. Cost to the producer was also cited as a major obstacle to these additional regulations. The information collected from this preliminary study has shown several areas where policy could be improved.
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