Genki Sushi Hepatitis A Outbreak and Litigation - Hawaii (2016)
Marler Clark Hepatitis A Attorneys represented 85 people sickened by Hepatitis A tainted scallops including one person that died.
On August 15, 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) identified raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai as a likely source of an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak. The product of concern was identified to be Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen) that originated in the Philippines (states “Product of the Philippines” on the box) and were distributed by Koha Oriental Foods.
As a result, HDOH ordered this product embargoed (not to be sold, purchased, or consumed) throughout the state, and the temporary closure of all Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai.
As of November 30, 2016, HDOH had identified 292 cases of hepatitis A. Seventy-four cases required hospitalization. Findings of the investigation suggested that the source of the outbreak was focused on Oahu. Eleven individuals were residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and seven visitors returned to the mainland or overseas. Onset of illness ranged between June 12, 2016 and October 9, 2016.
The FDA and CDC supported the HDOH in the investigation of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections linked to scallops supplied by Sea Port Products Corp. On August 17, 2016, the FDA, HDOH, CDC, and state partners informed Sea Port Products Corp. that epidemiological, laboratory, and traceback information indicated that their scallops were the likely source of illnesses. On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp. initiated a voluntary recall of three lots of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23 and 24, 2015. The lot numbers for the recalled scallops were 5885, 5886, and 5887. The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada. According to Sea Port Products Corp., the recalled products were not intended for retail sale. The FDA is working with the recalling firm to ensure their recall is effective and that recalled product is removed from the market.
The FDA’s traceback investigation involved working with HDOH to trace the path of food eaten by those made ill back to a common source. The traceback investigation determined that Sea Port Products Corp. imported the scallops that were later supplied to certain Genki Sushi locations in Hawaii, where ill people reported eating.
On August 17, 2016, FDA laboratory analysis of two scallop samples, which were collected on August 11, 2016, were confirmed positive for hepatitis A. These samples were imported by Sea Port Products Corp. and were produced on November 23 and 24, 2015.
All Genki Sushi individual cases have been settled. In addition, a settlement was reached in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of those who were exposed to hepatitis A at Genki Sushi restaurants and required a shot, but who did not become ill with hepatitis A.