The dangers of eating Korean seafood

Most of us have heard tales of people choking to death while eating live squid – but have you heard this one yet?

According to ABC News Blog (citing this article) – a partially cooked squid inseminated a Korean woman’s mouth causing her “severe pain in her oral cavity”:

Doctors found that the 63-year-old woman had “small, white spindle-shaped bug-like organisms” lodged in the mucous membrane of her tongue, cheek and gums.

Despite having been boiled, the dead squid’s live spermatophores, or sperm sacks, were alive and penetrated the woman’s mouth. The sacks, which contain ejaculatory devices, forcefully release sperm and a “cement” that attaches the sperm to a wall.

It seems like Korea’s shell fishing industry has also been experiencing some bad luck.  According to Reuters (June 14, 2012):

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration urged the removal of South Korean oysters, clams, mussels and scallops from the market, saying the products may have been exposed to human fecal waste and contaminated with norovirus.

Taiwan is also looking into Korean seafood. According to AsiaOne (June 16, 2012):

While the US is Taiwan’s biggest oyster import source, about one-third of Taiwan’s oysters are imported from South Korea, Taiwan FDA staffer Tsai Su-chen said. A total of around 77,800 kilograms of oysters have been imported in three batches since May.


Taiwanese health officials are currently investigating whether the recent food poisoning cases at four branches of a chain restaurant were caused by contaminated oysters. In addition, the Taipei City and Taoyuan County health departments have joined forces to destroy 8,000 oyster products. The Executive Yuan Department of Health is also conducting epidemiology research on the prevalence of the virus in Taiwan.

As a side note – one early American’s death in Korea during the 19th century was from eating bad canned oysters. The canned oysters were not from Korea.

My apologies to Mr. Hamel for failing to mention the Hat Tip from his entry in the open thread.

  • Maximus2008

    Do I see candlelight vigils in US against Korean Seafood Disease?

  • keith

    Korea needs to really work on its sewage disposal. I haven’t eaten raw oysters in Korea (even though I love them) since I got really sick with what I suspect was norovirus. Norovirus is very nasty and can kill kids or old or weak people, I was puking and shitting non-stop for two days after those bad oysters.

  • H.Schmidt

    Korean seafood is safe. I have eaten canned Korean seafood, seafood from various Korean restaurants, etc, etc and experienced no health problems.

    Consider yourself safe if you’re living in Korea. At least you’re not eating Chinese or Japanese seafood.

    I would be scared of Japanese seafood. The waters in the east coast of Japan are highly contaminated with nuclear radiation. Nuclear radiation will cause cancers, birth deformities and genetic mutations among people living in Japan.

  • Q

    I would not trust any seafood in S. Korea. Seafood products in S. Korea are often imported/smuggled from radiation-contaminated Japan. Nowadays, you could find Japanese products such as beer in suspiciously cheap price at local markets in S. Korea. Why is that? The factory is located near Fukushima. The Fukushima disaster indeed damaged many industries, not to mention of fishery.

  • Q

    I’d suggest more precautions be practiced to examine if it, especially produce or seafood, were imported from Japan. I’d hope S. Korea should be more strict in her import policy. Even China has more stringent rules when it comes to importing Japanese food.

  • hoju_saram

    Hamel already linked this story in the Open Thread.

    Korean seafood, in my experience, is safe and good value. Having said that, our good Mr. H.Schmidt is a Korean posing as a westerner, for some weird reason I can’t fathom.

  • dogbertt

    Never thought I’d say this, but squid have something to teach me.

  • dogbertt

    I was puking and shitting non-stop

    How is this different from another day at the office for you, keef?

  • hamel

    hoju_saram: cheers, mate. I didn’t think anyone had noticed. Interestingly, I have been unable so far to find the story in Korean. 도와주실 분?

    dogbertt: you really have it in for Keith, don’t you? What is it about him that riles you so much?

  • Pedro the Macanamaqna

    you really have it in for Keith, don’t you? What is it about him that riles you so much?

    Dumb question, fuckface. Just read his shit. Like this one here:

    Korea needs to really work on its sewage disposal.

    Concur. It’s a major municipal public health policy issue as to how Korea’s going to figure out disposing of the fecal/chav matter such as yourself. I recommend massive quantities of gamma-irradiation to deal with the particular concoction of sludge you happen to represent.

  • Robert Koehler

    Play nice, children.

  • Maximus2008

    Hoju, the Schmit guy is obviously Korean, I think everyone figured that out already.

    Now, this guy “Q” is the best! He beats Pawi and the missed wjk by miles! I always have a lot of fun reading his stuff!

  • Adams-awry

    “Play nice”?

    That all you have fuckface? Play nice? (It is ok if I call you fuckface, you piece of fecal/chav matter, right?) Bobcat! How did you let that through, you concoction of sludge?

    Really, I’ve seen people abuse each other on this before, but I don’t think I’ve seen this shit tolerated. What gives?

  • hamel

    Hi, Pedro. Did I upset you too?

  • Robert Koehler

    That goes for you, too, Adams-awry.

  • babotaengi


  • hamel

    In 1997 or 1998 on a company “picnic” we went to 안면도, the island where all men must have beards. For lunch we were taken to a seafood restaurant, and there the feast began.

    I stuck to what I knew – namely large shrimp (king prawns) grilled on a bed of salt . My colleague, however, was more adventurous, and devoured whatever was proferred.

    On the bus ride home he felt an urgent need to see his lunch again, so the bus stopped by the side of the road. When he boarded again, he told us that when the contents of his stomach exited his mouth, he distinctly tasted 멍게. Since then, he hasn’t been able to eat much seafood, and certainly no 멍게.

    I, on the other hand, felt no regret in having never tried the warty red sea squirt.

  • sanshinseon

    I got nailed real hard by an oyster (case like Kieth’s) at a fancy hotel buffet in Andong ’bout 8 years ago, have been leery ever since. It’s hard to trust seafood that hasn’t been well-cooked in front of you… And who really knows which coastal waters it came from, and what had recently happened there…?

  • CactusMcHarris

    I threw up in seven different colours (HT to Willy Wonka) after eating oysters, which were delicious, it was the three bottles of The Frog that did me in.

  • CactusMcHarris


    I too would like to know why the perpetual hard-on for our Keifie. What obsesses you to the point of your acid comments each time he posts something.

  • hamel

    You know, it was a brave man (or woman) who first ate an oyster.

  • Wedge

    “Always with the negative waves Moriarty, always with the negative waves.”

    Oh, and looks like I picked a bad time to surf the Hole (i.e. right before lunch).

  • dogbertt

    Well, let me turn that question around and ask what it is about him that others find likable?

    He basically whin(g)es incessantly, paints himself as the great white savior, but at the end of the day, he’s stuck. He lacks self awareness, in other words.

  • hamel

    He basically whin(g)es incessantly, paints himself as the great white savior, but at the end of the day, he’s stuck. He lacks self awareness, in other words.

    Depending on your perspective, dogbertt, that description fits most commenters at the hole. So why single him out? Why not, for example, year of the dragon, who is far more profuse (and odd with his regular name changes)?

  • F5Waeg
  • Q

    I’d be sorry to disrupt excitement you might think something unique in S. Korea. The squid incidence was not the first reported. According to UK DailyMail:

    A similar case was reported in December last year when a woman in Japan suffered severe pains in her mouth after eating raw squid.
    She took the remaining piece of squid with her to the Tosei General Hospital, the NCBI reports, and sperm bags were removed.
    Incidents involving the impregnation

    Read more:

    Norovirus infection in the USA is everyday incidence affecting one every 15 Americans a year. USA Today reported months ago that “Nasty, contagious norovirus is ‘everywhere’ now”:

    “It’s everywhere,” says Jan Vinje of the CDC, who spoke about norovirus last week at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “Basically, January through April is high season for norovirus activity,” he says, adding with a quip: “And now it’s February — Norovirus Appreciation Month.”

    Norovirus is estimated to affect more than 20 million Americans every year, causing about 800 deaths, usually a result of dehydration in the very young or the elderly.

  • Q

    It’s not just food. Huffpost reported “Norovirus Is Leading Cause Of U.S. Hospital Infectious Outbreaks”:

    Norovirus infections accounted for 18.2 percent of outbreaks and 65 percent of closures of hospital wards during 2008 and 2009, according to the study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

    Just for fun, it’d seem feco-oral matter is not a new thing for Taiwanese :)

  • hamel


    I’d be sorry to disrupt excitement you might think something unique in S. Korea. The squid incidence was not the first reported. According to UK DailyMail

    Do you feel relieved now, Q?

  • H.Schmidt

    In Korea, there is no Japanese seafood from Fukushima. On March 26 2011, the Korean government put a strict ban for all agricultural, fishery and other food products from Japan’s eastern region (not just Fukushima but the other prefectures too).

    Korean fish was never affected as the extent of the nuclear radiation only reached western Japan and never made it to Korea.

    Only Japanese food products got contaminated (even baby milk, rice, beef, shoes, cars, etc). There are reports on this from 2011 and 2012.

    Japan’s radiation problem is worse than Chernobyl’s. Here’s a report from the Deutsche Presse-Agentur:

    Researchers: Radioactivity of 6.15 Million bq/m² detected 60 km from meltdowns

    The Deutsche Presse-Agentur is reporting, “Researchers have found up to 6.15 million becquerels per square metre of soil in Fukushima city, 60 kilometres north-west of a nuclear power plant.”

    “The measurement is four times higher than the levels used to declare mandatory evacuation areas around Chernobyl.”

    So Q is either retarded or just talking out of his stupid ass.

  • babotaengi

    In the back of my head, I’ve always felt somewhat discomfited by the fact that people are eating the sexual organs and and digestive tract of these sea creatures. This is feather enough for me. Cooked or not, my seafood consumption is being limited to fish, crab legs and maybe a little lobster. Do scollops shit? Did used to enjoy those deeP fried.

  • Q

    I’d be sorry to say that Korea imports large amount of Japanese food:

    And the safety limits of radiation do not much differ from Japanese standards, which concerns people:

  • Q

    Japanese government has published false records of radiation (only one third of actual radiation level) in food:

  • Msladyofsd9

    I am here in South Korea visiting.  I ate raw oysters with two other girlfriends of mine at the fish market.  We all got extremely sick and had to seek medical attention.  Now I am not interested with eating seafood at all.  Even when I return back to America.  S. Korea has taught me something, you can not trust every vendor.  I am far from home and there are no regulations on selling bad shell fish.  While in the hospital, there were many other people who was suffering from the same sickness.  This is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately!!  When people come to America and eat shell fish there are less chances of an individual getting sick because we have strict regulations.  That needs to be exercise as soon as possible in South Korea.  I will be telling all my friends and family from all over the world how and why I got sick.  Myself along with my other friends that got sick will be networking throughout the web of how awfully sick we became.
      One day someone very important who is in politics and is from an extremely wealthy old money family will experience the same sickness.  That is when action will be taken and those vendors will be fucked.  I can not wait.  They know better than to sell contaminated products.  Luckily this did not happend back at home because my lawyer (father) would have put them out of business.  

  • nominal

    Korea should know the shame.
    They are dumping hundreds of thousands tons of human waste in the international waters.
    They polute waters against international law.
    They are exporting sea products and kimchi using those polluted oyster and shrimp.
    Many people got infected noro virus, O-157, O-111 and died due to those desease.
    FDA traced down the source and banned import from Korean seafoods and kimchi.
    As long as Korea continue dumping shits in the water we can’t eat Korean food.

  • yangachibastardo

    Guys this is the kind of thread that makes me regret i ever started taking meds and working on making the trash, scummy side of my persona marginally more palatable…you guys are a bunch of angry fucks, its like watching some vintage Royal Rumble footage

  • Lulu

    Any evidence?