What Put Salmonella in the Sushi? Mystery Solved

Food Recall"Where there's smoke, there's fire," the saying goes.   The suspect, raw tuna, turns out to be the perpetrator.  The FDA has announced a link between a frozen raw tuna product and the multistate Salmonella Bareilly outbreak that has resulted in 116 confirmed illnesses (and 12 hospitalizations) in 20 states. 


Moon Marine USA Corp. of Cupertino, California (also known as MMI) is voluntarily recalling 58,828 lbs. of its frozen yellowfin tuna, which was labeled Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA.  The product is tuna backmeat that is scraped from tuna bones and looks like a ground product. It is sold to restaurants and grocery stores and used to make sushi, sashimi, ceviche, and similar dishes.  The product is not sold by itself to individual consumers.


So far (as of Friday, April 13th), the 20 states with reported illnesses are the following: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (5), District of Columbia (2), Florida (1), Georgia (5), Illinois (10), Louisiana (2), Maryland (11), Massachusetts (8), Mississippi (1), Missouri (2), New Jersey (7), New York (24), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (5), Rhode Island (5), South Carolina (3), Texas (3), Virginia (5), and Wisconsin (12). The number in parentheses indicates the number of cases in that state.  D.C. has also reported case(s).  Note that there is likely to be a time lag between the onset of illness and the reporting of cases to health officials, so these numbers are likely to increase.  There are also, no doubt, many cases that never get reported.  Many people attribute food-borne illness symptoms to the flu.  Also, since most cases don't require a doctor's intervention, many never get reported.


If you have or have had symptoms that you think are related to this oubreak, Fox News has the following recommendation:  To report problems, including adverse reactions, related to any food except meat and poultry, contact the FDA district office consumer complaint coordinator for your geographic area (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm2).


The FDA is working closely with MMI to assist in the removal of the product from the market. However, tracking down the tainted tuna is no easy task.  USA Today explains the following: "The raw yellowfin tuna product may have passed through several distributors before reaching the restaurant and grocery market and may not be clearly labeled." What does this information imply that you, the sushi lover, should do? The FDA recommends that people should be cautious about eating raw seafood and inquire about the source. I plan to exercise even greater restraint and avoid eating anything made with raw tuna for the next few weeks.  (That's easy for me to do since I rarely eat raw fish anyway.)  No, I'm not planning to stay away from Japanese restaurants.  That would be too big a sacrifice for me.  I'll  just eat their cooked food.


To read the original Shelf Life Advice article on this outbreak, click here.




usatoday "Yellowfin tuna linked to salmonella outbreak in 20 states"


fox443.com "Sushi Linked to Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak, Including PA"


businessinsider.com "FDA Links tuna Sushi Product with Salmonella Outbreak in 20 States"


nbcnewyork.com "Tuna Linked to Salmonella Outbreak in 20 States"


fda.gov  "Moon Marine USA Corporation..."


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