The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging stores and restaurants in the US to stop selling imported Korean oysters, clams, mussels and some types of scallops because they may be contaminated with the norovirus.
"These products and any products made with them may have been exposed to human fecal waste and are potentially contaminated with norovirus," the FDA said Thursday.
Korea's seafood-safety program no longer meets FDA standards, the agency said. A recent FDA evaluation found problems with Korean sanitation controls that allowed human fecal material to contaminate seafood production in the country.
Korean government officials said they will strengthen the monitoring of seafood production facilities, tighten sanitation controls and ask the FDA to review its position.
"We know there are some sanitation problems at some seafood production facilities. We will increase the monitoring of seafood production facilities and take action if needed," according to Ahn Chi-gook, an official at the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Ahn said the government plans to ask the FDA to review its stance in time for the high season for oysters and other seafood in October.
Imports from Korea make up only a small portion of US seafood consumption, according to the FDA.
"FDA is in ongoing discussions with Korean authorities to resolve the issue," the agency said.
The norovirus can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping, and symptoms usually appear 12 to 48 hours after exposure, the FDA said.
No human illnesses this year in the US have been linked to imported Korean seafood.
Read more: The Wall Street Journal