Sushi Lawsuit for Salmonella Food Poisoning

Author: Attorney Fred Pritzker

Along with my team of food safety lawyers, I have filed a lawsuit against Moon Marine USA Company on behalf of a woman sickened by sushi tuna contaminated with Salmonella Bareilly. We are also representing other people sickened by Moon Marine tuna used to make sushi rolls and similar products.

The CDC reported that there are now 316 confirmed cases of Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga linked to Moon Marine tuna used in sushi rolls (spicy tuna rolls) and similar products.

People were sickened in the outbreak from January 1, 2012 to June 3, 2012. All ages were sickened, including babies. The oldest victim is 86 years old.

A high number of people, 37 (17%), were hospitalized, meaning this was a nasty strain of Salmonella that traveled from India (where the contamination most likely happened) to the U.S. and into restaurants throughout the country. Moon Marine USA Corporation imported the contaminated tuna from Moon Fishery (India) Pvt. Ltd and sold it as frozen yellowfin tuna Nakaochi scrape.

Illnesses that occurred after May 18, 2012, might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. The numbers of new cases have declined substantially since the peak in April 2012.  The outbreak may continue at a low level for the next several months since some food establishments may be unaware that they received recalled product and continue to serve this frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, which has a long shelf-life.

Sushi Lawsuit Evidence

Laboratory testing conducted by state public health laboratories in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin has isolated Salmonella from 53 (96%) of 55 samples taken from intact packages of frozen yellow fin tuna scrape from Moon Marine USA Corporation or from sushi prepared with the implicated scrape tuna product. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) results are available for Salmonella isolates from 41 of the 53 positive samples. Thirty-six samples yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly, and 12 samples yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Nchanga, according to the CDC. Seven samples yielded the outbreak strains of both Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga.

Finding the outbreak strains of Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga in intact packages of Moon Marine tuna scrape is “smoking gun” evidence connecting Moon Marine (and Moon Fishery) to the cases of Salmonella poisoning.

FDA Observations of Moon Fishery

Observations made by the FDA representatives during the inspection of a Moon Fishery facility are found in Form FDA 483: Moon Fishery (India) Pvt. Ltd). Although tuna processed at Moon Fishery comes in direct contact with water and ice, there were several problems with the water and ice at the plant:

  • Tanks used for storage of process waters have apparent visible debris, filth, and microbiological contamination;
  • Sand and activated carbon filter units used in manufacturing ofwater are not sanitized;
  • Ventilation for tanks is not filtered to protect against contamination;
  • There is no laboratory analysis for water used in ice machines;
  • Ice manufacturing lacks sanitary controls: ice manufacturing equipment at the Moon Fishery facility is located outside and is susceptible to adulteration from pests and the environment;
  • Apparent bird feces were observed on the ice manufacturing equipment; and
  • Insects and filth were observed in and on the equipment

The FDA also found that the company was not monitoring the condition or cleanliness of food contact surfaces:

  • Some of the floor and wall tiles in the tuna processing area are broken and cracked, not allowing for proper cleaning;
  • After cleaning, the ceiling directly above the in-process tuna line was observed to have visible product residue; and
  • After cleaning, product residues and rust were observed on knives (used to cut raw tuna) and utensil storage boxes.

Sushi Tuna Recall Update

On May 10, 2012 Moon Fishery (India) Pvt. Ltd., the manufacturer of the frozen yellowfin tuna Nakaochi scrape recently recalled, expanded the voluntary recall to include  its 22-pound boxes of “Tuna Strips”, Product of India, marked as “AA” or “AAA Grade” because the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

On April 13, 2012, Moon Marine USA Corporation (also known as MMI) of Cupertino, California voluntarily recalled 58,828 lbs of a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, labeled as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA. Nakaochi Scrape is tuna backmeat, which is specifically scraped off from the bones, and looks like a ground product.

Share this article:

Category: Food Poisoning
Ready to talk?

We're here to listen. Tell us what happened to you.

We are not paid unless you win. Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply