Monday, April 16, 2012

Update - Salmonella linked to tuna used in sushi

Update 5/3/12
CDC reports that there is now close to 260 people infected with two different strains of Salmonella.

CDC Release 5/2/12
  • Based on an epidemiologic link and results of laboratory testing, CDC has combined this Salmonella Bareilly investigation with an ongoing multistate outbreak investigation of Salmonella serotype Nchanga infections. The two associated PFGE patterns have been grouped together as the "outbreak strains."

  • A total of 258 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Bareilly (247 persons) or Salmonella Nchanga (11 persons) have been reported from 24 states and the District of Columbia.
    • 32 ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

  • 4/17/12
    According to the CDC, the Salmonella Bareilly that caused close to 150 illnesses has been linked to tuna used in sushi. The raw tuna served was frozen, but of course, was not cooked. While freezing will eliminate parasites, it will not eliminate Salmonella. The majority of tuna linked to this outbreak was from India. The US importer, Moon Marine, has begun recalling close to 59,000 lbs of tuna.

    When producing a ready-to-eat food such as sushi grade tuna, the highest degree of sanitation and operating cleanliness must be maintained. This requires that the producer maintain tight production controls and procedures each and every day. This tuna meat, or tuna scrape, is a lower grade product and is essentially meat that was scrapped from the backbone of the tuna and had the look of a ground product.

    A lawsuit has already been filed against the importer.  As an importer, they have the responsibility for ensuring the processing plants they purchase from have adequate quality and safety systems in place.

    Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly Infections Associated with a Raw Scraped Ground Tuna Product
    CDC Release  4/17/2012

    A total of 141 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly have been reported from 20 states and the District of Columbia.
    The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (6), District of Columbia (2), Florida (1), Georgia (6), Illinois (13), Louisiana (3), Maryland (14), Massachusetts (9), Mississippi (2), Missouri (4), New Jersey (8), New York (28), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (6), Rhode Island (5), South Carolina (3), Texas (4), Virginia (8), and Wisconsin (14).  21 ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

    Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health agencies indicate that a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corporation is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly infections. Nakaochi Scrape is tuna backmeat that is scraped from the bones of tuna and may be used in sushi, sashimi, ceviche, and similar dishes. The product looks like raw ground tuna. 

    Consumers should not eat the recalled product, and retailers should not serve the recalled raw Nakaochi Scrape tuna product from Moon Marine USA Corporation.
    This investigation is ongoing. CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing surveillance to identify new cases.

    U.S. NEWS  WSJ
    Updated April 16, 2012, 6:48 p.m. ET
    Tuna Blamed in Salmonella Outbreak Is Recalled
    By BILL TOMSON WSJ 4/15/12

    The Food and Drug Administration said Monday a California supplier of raw tuna used in sushi was behind a salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people in 20 states.
    Moon Marine USA Corp. in Cupertino, Calif., has begun recalling 58,828 pounds of raw yellowfin tuna because it may be contaminated, the FDA said. Many of the people who became ill reported eating an item known as spicy tuna, the agency said, and most of the illnesses occurred in New York.

    Much of the tuna linked to the outbreak was imported from India, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection, with symptoms usually lasting four to seven days, the CDC said. About 400 people a year die of the infection, mostly young children and the elderly, according to the CDC.

    An FDA spokesman said it was unclear how much of the tuna might still be on the market. The latest illnesses that federal officials are looking at were reported April 11, but there may be more, the CDC said. There is often a lag between the time of illness onset and the time it is reported to the CDC.

    Moon Marine USA officials couldn't be reached for comment, and the FDA hasn't released the names of restaurants or grocery stores that may have sold the sushi containing the contaminated tuna.

    People started getting sick from the outbreak about two months ago, and the FDA confirmed it was an outbreak of the rare Bareilly strain of salmonella. The agency suspected sushi was to blame after some victims reported eating it before getting sick, but the FDA didn't confirm the link until Monday.

    The FDA said it has narrowed the contamination search to a yellowfin tuna product known as Nakaochi Scrape, which is scraped from fish bones.

    The FDA stopped short of telling consumers not to eat spicy tuna items. Instead, it advised people eating dishes that contain spicy tuna, sushi, sashimi, seviche or similar dishes that might contain Nakaochi Scrape from a restaurant or grocery store to check with the establishment to ensure it didn't contain recalled products from Moon Marine, also known as MMI. "When in doubt, don't eat it," the FDA said in a news release.

    The tuna product found at several clusters of restaurants and grocery stores was frozen, raw Nakaochi Scrape from a single tuna-processing facility in India, according to the CDC's investigation.

    Although most of the illnesses occurred in New York, victims also have been reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to the CDC.

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