Sushi Salmonella Food Poisoning

A Salmonella outbreak has been associated with eating spicy tuna rolls and similar products made with scrape tuna imported by Moon Marine USA Corporation (hereinafter Moon Marine), based in California.  The company recalled scrape tuna it had distributed to restaurants and grocery stores in several states and Washington D.C., but not until dozens of people were sickened.

Sushi Lawsuit Investigation

The Salmonella outbreak was linked to contaminated frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corporation. It looks like ground fish. Most of the people sickened ate spicy tuna rolls make with the scrape tuna and sold at restaurants and grocery stores.

Interviews of the Salmonella victims found that most of them had eaten a sushi item containing spicy tuna, mostly spicy tuna rolls. Several methods were used to evaluate the association between tuna and illness in this outbreak.

Once tuna was suspected as the source of the outbreak, health officials conducted a traceback investigation to determine where the tuna had come from. This investigation found that grocery stores and restaurants whose patrons had been sickened purchased frozen raw Nakaochi Scrape tuna that had been imported by Moon Marine from a single tuna processing facility in India, Moon Fishery Pvt Ltd. Nakaochi Scrape tuna is frozen raw yellowfin tuna backmeat that has been scraped off from the bones. Shortly thereafter, Moon Marine recalled Nakaochi Scrape tuna.

Wisconsin health officials found Salmonella Bareilly contamination in recalled Moon Marine yellowfin tuna and in a spicy tuna roll made with the recalled tuna. A few days later, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly from two samples taken from unopened packages of recalled Nakaochi Scrape tuna from Moon Marine USA Corporation. One of the samples also yielded another type of Salmonella with a PFGE pattern indistinguishable from a cluster of Salmonella Nchanga infections. Based on an epidemiological link and results of laboratory testing, CDC combined the Salmonella Bareilly investigation with an ongoing Salmonella Nchanga investigation, and the 2 associated PFGE patterns were grouped together as the “outbreak strains.”

By May 17, 2012, laboratory testing conducted by state public health laboratories in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin isolated Salmonella from 53 (96%) of 55 samples taken from intact packages of frozen yellowfin tuna scrape from Moon Marine USA Corporation or from sushi prepared with the implicated scrape tuna product. Of the 41 Salmonella isolates for which PFGE results are available, 36 samples yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly, and 12 samples yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Nchanga. Seven samples yielded the outbreak strains of both Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga.

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Category: Food Poisoning
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