By: Candess Zona-Mendola

 

Hepatitis A-tainted Ahi tuna cubes have made it to the mainland United States. For those who have been following the recall with us, imported frozen Ahi tuna cubes from Indonesia were sold without prior inspections. An after-sale effort exposed a concerning finding, the tuna was contaminated with Hepatitis A. The company came forward with a list of retailers. The media reported that the products were only sold in one place – the Island of Oahu in Hawaii. An immediate recall ensued. The company vehemently apologized. That was back in the beginning of May.

More than three weeks later and dangerously close to the deadline to get a vaccine, we learn three more states also sold the product – California, Texas, and Oklahoma. New York was also possibly distributed the contaminated products. However, the New York Department of Health confirms that the products were not sold.

What Took So Long?

The tuna implicated in the latest recall is from a different company. It may also be a different product, frozen yellowfin tuna steaks as opposed to the cubes implicated in the Hawaii recall. The confirmation that the tainted tuna came from Indonesia is still pending. What we currently know is that tuna distributed to the mainland United States came from Sustainable Seafood Company out of Vietnam, and Santa Cruz Seafood Inc. from the Philippines. The FDA reports that the recall started back on May 18, 2017. More details are likely forthcoming in the following days and weeks as the investigation continues.

Who Sold the Tainted Tuna Sold in the Mainland?

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday provided a detailed list of potential retailers that may have sold the affected tuna products. The locations include:

California

Almansor Court 701 S. Almansor St., Alhambra, CA
Arroyo Trabuco 26772 Avery Pkwy, Mission Viejo, CA
Blue HI Café 2 Embarcardero, San Francisco, CA
Bonito Poke 2277 Shafter Ave. San Francisco, CA
Camp Four Wine Café 1508 10th St. Modesto, CA
Doubletree 555 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont, CA
Fenix 919 4th ST. San Rafael, CA
Fuzio’s 1020 10th St. Modesto, CA
Galaxy Foods Inc. 31224 Palos Verdes Dr. W., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Galetto Ristorante 1101 J St., Modesto, CA
High Sierra Grill House 2003 W. Bullard, Fresno, CA
Hotel Irvine 17900 Jamboree Rd, Irvine, CA
Jus Poke 501 N. Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA
Noelani 1037 Laurel St. San Carlos, CA
Ola Mexican Kitchen Huntington Beach, CA
Poke Shack 2001 Lawton St. San Francisco, CA
Shamrock Foods 12400 Riverside Dr. Eastvale, CA

Oklahoma & Texas

Central Market Kitchen N HEB Vendor #15385, Austin, TX
Conservatory Plano 6401 Ohio Dr. Plano, TX
Hilton Garden Inn 23535 Northgate Crossing, Spring, TX
Jack Ryan’s 102 N. College Ave. Tyler, TX
Jack Ryan’s 119 N. Longview St. Kilgore, TX
Johnny Tamale 4647 E. Sam Houston, Pasadena, TX
Marriott Conf. Center 2801 St. Hwy 9, Norman OK
Myron’s Prime Steakhouse 10003 NW Military Hwy, San Antonio, TX
Prestonwood CC 15909 Preston Rd., Dallas, TX
Sea Ranch Restaurant 1 Padre Blvd., S Padre Island, TX
Sysco East Texas 4577 Estes Pkwy, Longview, TX
Sysco Foods Central Texas 1260 Schwab R. New Braunfels, TX
Sysco Food Houston 10710 Greens Crossing Blvd, Houston, TX
The Schooner 1507 S, Hwy 69, Nederland, TX

Any potential New York retailer has yet to be identified – most likely as the products were confirmed to not have been sold.

But the list may not be exhaustive and may not account for all of the retailers or restaurants that have sold the products. It is a good idea to check your freezer, or with any sushi restaurant you may have visited since April 27, 2017, to see if they have sold any of the affected products. According to the FDA,

“The first recall, which took place in Hawaii, consisted of 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, which began May 18, consists of frozen yellowfin tuna steaks from Sustainable Seafood Company and yellowfin tuna cubes from Santa Cruz Seafood. This recall by Hilo Fish Company includes Tuna Steaks, 8 oz. individually vacuum packed bags, production date code: 627152, Lot number: 166623; Expiration date: 2018-10-01 and Frozen Yellowfin tuna cubes, random; Individually vacuum packed; 15 lb. case, date code: 705342, Lot number: 173448; Expiration dates: 2019-04-01).”

For more information on the background of this recall, you can visit the FDA’s website here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that no reported cases have come forward. However, with a symptom latency period of up to 50 days, it may be a few weeks yet before cases are identified.

Vaccine, Post- Exposure Shots

Any unvaccinated person who ingested the raw ahi tuna products is at risk of Hepatitis A infection.

Time is of the essence for those who have been potentially exposed on the mainland. There is a post-exposure shot that, when administered within two weeks of ingestion of a Hepatitis A contaminated product, could help combat the virus. The FDA recommends this post-exposure shot, or post exposure prophylaxis, do anyone who may have eaten any tainted tuna, regardless if raw or cooked.

The CDC reports the symptoms of Hepatitis A infections as “a sudden onset of fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).  Some people have no symptoms, while others have symptoms that last 1-6 months.” Children and some adults may not show any symptoms at all. If you are concerned or ate any raw tuna recently, a call to your medial provider is a good idea.

As Hepatitis A causes liver inflammation, and could cause liver damage, medical attention is recommended for anyone showing signs or symptoms of a Hepatitis A infection. A Hepatitis A vaccine is also recommended for any unvaccinated consumers, especially those living in Hawaii, California, Oklahoma, and Texas. You can learn more about Hepatitis A from the CDC on its website here.

Following the Recall

UnsafeFoods will continue to follow the details of this recall as they come forward and will continue to investigate this recall. Check back for regular updates, or visit us on Facebook or other social media for updates and other news.