December 8, 2019

Is Truong Phu Xanh Yellowfin Tuna Linked to Scombrotoxin Outbreak?

The FDA has released a notice about their investigation of Scombrotoxin fish poisoning that is linked to yellowfin tuna. As a result of this investigation, the government has placed Truong Phu Xanh Company of Vietnam on Import Alert, so the FDA field staff can detain the product without physical examination. This fish cannot enter the US unless the importer proves it meets U.S. food safety standards.

Is Truong Phu Xanh Yellowfin Tuna Linked to Scombrotoxin Outbreak?

FDA has asked the supplier of yellowfin tuna that is associated with most of the illnesses, Truong Phu Xanh Co., to initiate a voluntary recall of all of its imported yellowfin tuna with production dates from January 2019 to the prevent. The firm has not recalled any of the fish to date.

As part of the investigation, the FDA has evaluated the firm’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Plans (HACCP). The evaluation has found deficiencies, so the recall was requested. The problem is that because scombrotoxin fish poisoning causes temporary or reversible adverse health effects, this incident doesn’t meet the threshold for use of FDA’a mandatory recall authority.

So far, there have been 47 cases of scombrotoxin fish poisoning in the US with illness onset dates ranging from August 8, 2019 to October 15, 2019. The case count by state is: Delaware (6) Massachusetts (2), Maryland (4), New Jersey (2), New York (5), Ohio (11), Pennsylvania (6), Rhode Island (3), Vermont (7), and West Virginia (1). One person has been hospitalized as a result of this illness.

With this type of food poisoning, samples can’t be linked to patients through whole genome sequencing or pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Samples are, instead, tested for decomposition and/or high histamine levels. Multiple samples in products imported from Truong Phu Xanh Co. have high histamine levels and positive results for decomposition.

So the FDA is recommending that yellowfin tuna from Truong Phu Xanh Co. with a production date in 2019 should not be consumed. Tuna from this supplier could have been sold thawed or frozen, or further processed into ground tuna meat, poke cubes, steaks, or loins. And the product could still be on store shelves within its shelf life.

Importers, suppliers, and distributors should not use and should discard or destroy any yellowfin tuna imported form Truong Phu Xanh Co with a production date in 2019. Restaurants and retailers should confirm the source of yellowfin tuna in their possession; not all product was distributed in packaging that identified Truong Phu Xanh Co. Get rid of any yellowfin tuna from that supplier within 2019. Finally, consumers should ask if any yellowfin tuna they buy or order from a restaurant was imported from that supplier; don’t buy or order it if the restaurant or grocery store isn’t sure.

Symptoms of scombroid fish poisoning include allergic reactions that include face flushing, headache, heart palpitations, itching, blurred vision, cramps, and diarrhea. Symptoms are teated with antihistamines, but most patients typically recover within 12 hours.

You can contact your doctor if you have eaten yellowfin tuna and have experienced these symptoms. You can also fill out an FDA Consumer Complaint.

 

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