FDA Announces Recall of Yellowfin Tuna After Salmonella Outbreak

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The Food and Drug Administration announced California-based Moon Marine USA will voluntarily recall more than 58,828 pounds of yellowfin tuna "scrape" after it was linked to a salmonella bareilly outbreak. More than 100 people are known to have been affected.

What is yellowfin tuna "scrape?"

Primarily used in preparing dishes like sushi and sashimi, tuna scrape is literally meat scraped off the bones in the back of the fish. It resembles a typical ground product and is often sold frozen in blocks.

How did the FDA trace the outbreak to yellowfin tuna scrape?

Interviews with those who have suffered an infection revealed an overwhelmingly common thread. The vast majority of those who became ill reported they had eaten sushi, specifically sushi that contained tuna. According to Food Safety News, almost 81 percent of those who were interviewed reported they had eaten sushi in the days preceding their illness. Of those that had eaten sushi, 91 percent recalled that it had contained tuna. The FDA was then able to trace the particular company that sold the infected tuna by identifying where people had eaten their sushi and, consequently, the vendors' supplier. The tuna was originally packaged as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA and sold to retailers.

How widespread is the infection?

The outbreak has affected at least 116 people in 20 states and the District of Columbia. No deaths have been reported, but at least 12 of those afflicted have had to be hospitalized.

Does the FDA believe the recall will correct the problem?

It's very likely, given the sheer amount of the product being voluntarily recalled. But because the scrape might have been divided and repackaged by distributors before being sold to retailers, some of it might not be as readily identified. The Chicago Tribune quoted the FDA's Curtis Allen, who said the government hopes the recall will remove all of the contaminated product from circulation but admitted there "could still be some out there." The FDA is recommending if consumers have doubts about their seafood, the best course of action is not to eat it.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can appear within eight hours of eating the contaminated food but can take as long as 72 hours to manifest themselves, according to the Associated Press. They include fever and abdominal cramps, among other signs. Certain groups have a considerably higher risk of developing a more severe infection from salmonella bareilly, including older people, very young children and pregnant women.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in health and nutrition issues.

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