Photo/IllutrationRaw oysters will be shipped early thanks to a new technique developed by Hiroshima Prefecture’s fishery oceanography center in Kure. (Kento Matsushima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

KURE, Hiroshima Prefecture--Those who love raw oysters, not normally in season until October, may now safely feast on them as early as July.

The prefecture’s fishery oceanography center here developed a new means to purify them, enabling customers to consume them during the summer season.

Until now, shipping has begun in October of raw oysters farmed in the prefecture, one of the large oyster farming prefectures in Japan.

According to the prefecture, under the new approach, locally farmed raw oysters are managed under cold seawater with a temperature of 10-15 degrees, and bacteria causing food poisoning is removed by exposing them to ultraviolet rays and other measures. It takes more than four days to cleanse them.

The raw oyster brand Kaki Komachi, produced through variety improvement, are the main products to be shipped. Kaki Komachi tend to grow large even in the summer as the species has been modified so it doesn't spawn.

On July 16, the prefecture held a tasting event to showcase oysters treated with the new rinsing technique, inviting restaurant business operators and others to attend.

“I was surprised that the oysters were bigger and had a stronger flavor than I expected. I'd love to serve them,” said Tatsuya Araki, 38, who runs a Japanese restaurant in Hiroshima.

An official of the prefecture’s fishery division said they hoped the new technique would help increase oyster consumption by Japanese and visitors from overseas.