A Salmonella outbreak linked to frozen, raw tuna used for sushi and other dishes made its way through 11 states last summer, sickening 65 people and hospitalizing 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health officials linked the outbreak to frozen, yellowfin tuna produced by Osamu Corporation at a processing plant in Indonesia. The company issued two recalls. One on July 20, 2015, the other on July 21, 2015.
Most of those who became ill reported eating sushi made with raw tuna in the week prior. They reported onset of illness dates ranging from March 5, 2015 to July 20, 2015. Case patients, who ranged in age from younger than 1 year to 83 years old, had a median age of 31. Fifty four percent were male.
Salmonella can cause serious, sometimes fatal infections in young children, seniors, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea that can be bloody, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Two outbreak strains were identified. One person tested positive for the strain Salmonella Weltevreden, the other 64 were positive for the strain Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+)
It wasn’t the first time raw, frozen tuna has been linked to a Salmonella outbreak. In 2012, a 28-state Salmonella outbreak linked to a frozen, raw yellowfin tuna product called tuna scrape sickened 425 people. It was the largest food poisoning outbreak of 2012.
The tuns scrape was produced in India and distributed in the US by Moon Marine USA Corporation. Two strains of Salmonella were involved in the outbreak. There were 410 cases of Salmonella Bareilly and 25 Salmonella Nchanga.
Tuna can become contaminated with Salmonella during shipping or processing. And freezing does not kill Salmonella.
The CDC advises that those in high risk groups including children under 5, seniors, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems do not eat raw tuna.