The Food and Drug Administration released a statement on June 1 about an ongoing investigation into potentially contaminated frozen tuna distributed by the Hilo Fish Company.
The Hawaii Department of Health first discovered the hepatitis A virus in a sample of frozen tuna from Indonesia on May 1. On May 2, the FDA contacted the Tropic Fish Hawaii LLC, a subsidiary distributor of Hilo Fish Company, for additional information related to the positive tuna samples.
On May 18, the Hilo Fish Company issued a voluntary recall of frozen tuna from Sustainable Seafood Company and Santa Cruz Seafood, Inc.
While there has yet to be a report of illness in conjunction with the tuna, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is advising those in Oklahoma, Texas, and California who have not been vaccinated for the hepatitis A virus and have consumed raw or undercooked tuna products within the past two weeks to get treated with post-exposure prophylaxis.
What Products Were Recalled?
The first recall took place in Hawaii and consisted of imported raw frozen ahi tuna cubes from PT Deho Canning Co. (JL. Raya Madidir, Bitung, Indonesia) lot codes 609149 and 609187.
The current recall (which began May 18) consists of frozen yellowfin tuna steaks from Sustainable Seafood Company and yellowfin tuna cubes from Santa Cruz Seafood. According to the FDA, this recall includes all eight-ounce Tuna Steaks with the production date code: 627152, lot number: 166623, expiration date: 2018-10-01 and Frozen Yellowfin tuna cubes with the date code: 705342, lot number: 173448, expiration date: 2019-04-01.
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— CBS 6 Albany – WRGB (@CBS6Albany) June 3, 2017
The term “hepatitis” is defined as an inflammation of the liver. A select number of drugs, toxins, diseases, and heavy alcohol use can cause hepatitis. Hepatitis is the name of a family of viral infections that affect the liver – the most common types being, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
Contaminated fruit (particularly berries), shellfish, and salads are the most frequent foodborne sources of hepatitis A, according to the FDA. Hepatitis A can be transmitted from person to person.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include abdominal pain, fatigue, jaundice, dark urine, abnormal liver tests, and pale stool. Those who have the virus may not show symptoms until 15 to 50 days after consuming a contaminated drink or food item. The CDC reports that while the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all children, vaccination rates are lower than for other recommended childhood vaccines.
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) June 2, 2017
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone who has not been vaccinated for hepatitis A and has consumed recalled frozen tuna is at risk of contracting the virus.
If you’re unsure whether or not you’ve been vaccinated for hepatitis A, contact your health provider to check your immunization records. If you have been vaccinated, then no further action is needed. If you’ve never been vaccinated, getting a single dose within two weeks of exposure can protect you against illness.
If you think you’ve become ill from eating tuna, you should contact your healthcare provider.
[Featured Image by bhofack2/Thinkstock]