December 24, 2008

Oysters and Foie Gras Hazardous to Hands

French doctors say wrestling oysters and tins of foie gras can be hazardous to your health.

Emergency rooms in France report a surge this time of year from hundreds of people who badly cut themselves opening oysters and foie gras, the Telegraph (Britain) reported Wednesday.

The wounds often require surgery, said the French Health Surveillance Institute, noting an estimated 2,000 people annually hurt themselves opening oysters, with 40 percent of the injuries occurring in December and January.

It's quite easy for the oyster knife to slip and to end up in your hand, said Patrick Houvet, a French hand surgeon who regularly sees patients with severed tendons, nerves and arteries.

But the real problem is the mycobacteria on the oyster shell, and the fact that there are little pieces of shell on the oyster knife, Houvet said. That almost always results in an infection.