FDA Reviews Hepatitis A Tied to Frozen Tuna

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Contaminated Tuna Originated in Vietnam and the Philippines

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are collaborating with state and local officials to assess the risk of exposure to the hepatitis A virus tied to contaminated frozen tuna sourced from the Sustainable Seafood Company, Vietnam and the Santa Cruz Seafood Inc., Philippines. If unvaccinated consumers have consumed the recalled product in June 2017, post-exposure prophylaxis (action taken to prevent disease) may help prevent contracting the hepatitis A virus infection.

Prior to release of the FDA’s announcement, Hilo Fish Company sent out a direct alert to its customers and distribution partners on May18, 2017 to advise about the company’s recall of certain tuna products. The FDA indicated it had received records from the company or its distribution partners indicating that frozen tuna was sold to the establishments listed on the FDA’s website here.

The FDA indicated that it continues to work with Hilo and other distributors to ensure that the companies remove the contaminated tuna from the market. The FDA notes that it is Hilo Fish Company’s responsibility to advise its customers about the recall. Also, any company that received a recall notice from Hilo Fish Company is responsible to advise its customers. The establishments identified on the FDA’s website should have received a notice from Hilo Fish Company or their direct supplier. If not, they should reach out to their suppliers for additional information.

The first recall took place in Hawaii and involved imported raw frozen ahi tuna cubes sourced from PT Deho Canning Co. (JL. Raya Madidir, Bitung, Indonesia). That recall, by Tropic Fish, includes lot codes 609149 and 609187. No products are believed to remain on the market. The current recall resulted from follow-up after the Hawaii Department of Health advised the FDA of a frozen tuna sample, sourced from PT Deho Canning Co., which tested positive for hepatitis A on May 1, 2017. The initially recalled product has been removed from circulation and the newly recalled frozen tuna lots were not shipped to Hawaii; however, they were shipped to mainland United States.

The current recall, which began May 18, involves frozen yellowfin tuna steaks from Sustainable Seafood Company and yellowfin tuna cubes from Santa Cruz Seafood. The recall, implemented by Hilo Fish Company, includes Tuna Steaks in eight-ounce individually vacuum packed bags with production date code: 627152, lot number: 166623; expiration date: 2018-10-01. Frozen Yellowfin tuna cubes, random, were individually vacuum packed in 15-pound cases with the date code: 705342; lot number: 173448; and expiration date: 2019-04-01.

Parker Waichman LLP is a national personal injury law firm with decades of experience representing clients in food poisoning lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a contaminated food lawsuit.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is the result of an infection with the hepatitis A virus. The virus may range in severity from a mild illness that lasts a few weeks, to a severe illness that lasts several months. Hepatitis A may be spread when a person ingests the virus from contaminated food or water. The virus may also be easily passed from an infected person to other unvaccinated family members, sexual partners, and close contacts, according to the FDA.

The FDA points out that, symptoms of hepatitis A in adults include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine, and pale stool; individuals with hepatitis A may not have symptoms until 15 to 50 days after consuming a contaminated food or drink. The CDC reports that, while the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all children, vaccination rates are lower than for other recommended childhood vaccines. Unvaccinated children may become ill and not have symptoms. Any unvaccinated person who consumed recalled frozen tuna is at risk of contracting the hepatitis A virus, noted the FDA.

The CDC recommends providing post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for any unvaccinated people who have recently eaten any of the recalled raw or undercooked tuna products. People who have consumed this fish fully cooked are at reduced risk of exposure, but consultation with medical professionals is suggested.

PEP involves receiving the hepatitis A vaccine for people between the ages of one and 40 years or the hepatitis A virus-specific immunoglobulin (IG) for people outside of this age range. The hepatitis A vaccine may be substituted if the IG is not available. Those with evidence of previous vaccination do not require PEP

If you have never received the hepatitis A vaccine, getting a single dose within two weeks of exposure may protect against illness. If you are unable to determine if you have been vaccinated, receiving an additional dose of the vaccine is not harmful.

In the event that retailers and/or other retail locations are found to have handled recalled or other potentially contaminated food in their facilities, wash and sanitize display cases and refrigerators where potentially contaminated products are stored; wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store potentially contaminated products; and wash hands with hot water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process. Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators who have processed and packaged any potentially contaminated products must be concerned about cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with the potentially contaminated products, according to the FDA.

The FDA notes that contaminated shellfish, fruit (berries), and salads are the most frequent foodborne sources of hepatitis A. Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food. Consumers should thoroughly wash their hands after using the bathroom and changing diapers to help protect themselves from contracting hepatitis A.

Filing a Food Poisoning Injury Lawsuit

If you or someone you know suffered injuries due to a contaminated food, you may have valuable legal rights. Our food poisoning lawyers offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).

from Parker Waichman http://www.yourlawyer.com/blog/fda-reviews-hepatitis-tied-frozen-tuna/

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