December 3, 2020

FDA Updates Yellowfin Tuna Scombrotoxin Outbreak

The FDA has updated the yellowfin tuna scombrotoxin outbreak that is linked to tuna that has sickened dozens of people in the U.S. In November 2019, FDA placed Truong Phu Xanh Co., LTD of Vietnam on Import Alert, which allows the government to detail the firm’s yellowfin tuna without physical examination. Truong Phu Xanh is the supplier of the tuna associated with most of the illnesses.

FDA Updates Yellowfin Tuna Scombrotoxin Outbreak

The FDA has also asked the company to initiate a voluntary recall of all of its imported yellowfin (ahi) tuna with production dates from January 2019 to the present, and the firm has not complied. In November 2019, there were 47 people sick with scombrotoxin fish poisoning with illness onset dates from August 8, 2019 to October 15, 2019.

As of December 26, 2019, there are 50 people sick in this scombrotoxin yellowfin tuna outbreak, and one person has been hospitalized. The last illness onset date was November 24, 2019. The patient case count is: Delaware (6), Massachusetts (2), Maryland (4), Minnesota (2), New Jersey (2), New York (6), Ohio (11), Pennsylvania (6), Rhode Island (3), Vermont (7), and West Virginia (1).

Scombrotoxin fish poisoning is caused by eating fish that has high levels of histamine, which triggers allergic reaction. Fish develop high histamine levels when the flesh has not been properly refrigerated or preserved and it begins to spoil.

Symptoms of scombrotoxin fish poisoning develop within a few minutes to an hour after eating mishandled and decomposed fish. They include headache, heart palpitations, flushing of the face, itching, blurred vision, cramps, and diarrhea. Most people get better within 12 hours, and antihistamines can help, but some do become ill enough to be hospitalized.

The companies that have imported tuna from Truong Phu Xanh Co., LTD include:

  • Mical Seafood Inc. (Davie, FL)
  • Northern Fisheries LTD. (Little Compton, RI)
  • Alfa International Seafood Inc. (Medley, FL)
  • Aquabest Seafood LLC (Miami, FL)
  • Gamma Seafood Corporation (Medley, FL)
  • J. DeLuca Fish Company, Inc. (San Pedro, CA)
  • ┬áSym-Pac International Inc. (Corona, CA)
  • Worldwide Seafood Products LLC (Perth Amboy, NJ)

Any yellowfin tuna from Truong Phu Xanh CO., LTD with a production date in 2019 should not be consumed. This tuna could have been sold thawed or frozen. It could be in the forms of ground tuna meat, poke cubes, steaks, or loins. This product could still be within its shelf life.

If you are ordering yellowfin or ahi tuna in a restaurant or a grocery store, ask if it is imported from Truong Phu Xanh Co., LTD and has a production date in 2019. If it was, or if the restaurant doesn’t know, don’t eat it.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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