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Sushi-Linked Salmonella Outbreak Reaches 141 Cases

Food Safety News

By Mary Rothschild | April 18, 2012

A multistate outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly infection has sickened at least 141 people, up from the 116 confirmed cases reported last week, while the related recall has expanded to include all frozen raw yellowfin tuna product - called Nakaochi Scrape - distributed by Moon Marine USA Corp.

Nakaochi Scrape is the backmeat of tuna that, when scraped off the bones, looks like ground tuna, and is used to make sushi and similar dishes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Moon Marine's frozen raw Nakaochi Scrape tuna, imported from a single processing plant in India, is the likely cause of the outbreak.

In an update Tuesday, the CDC said the illnesses extend across 20 states and the District of Columbia.

New York has reported 28 cases; Maryland and Wisconsin 14; Illinois 13; Massachusetts 9; New Jersey and Virginia 8; Connecticut, Georgia and Pennsylvania 6; Rhode Island 5; Missouri and Texas 4; Louisiana and South Carolina 3; Alabama, District of Columbia, Mississippi and North Carolina 2; and Arkansas and Florida 1.

The 25 new cases include 4 reported by New York; 3 each by Illinois, Maryland and Virginia; 2 each by Missouri and Wisconsin and 1 each by Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey; Pennsylvania and Texas.

The ill people range in age from 4 to 78 years. Median age is 30. Fifty-nine percent are female. So far, at least 21 individuals have been hospitalized.

Onset dates of their illnesses range from January 28 to April 1, 2012.

On April 13, the Cupertino, CA-based Moon Marine USA Corp. agreed to recall 58,828 pounds of its frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, according to the Food and Drug Administration. In an update Tuesday, the FDA said Moon Marine is voluntarily recalling all frozen raw yellowfin tuna product from India, labeled as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA.

The product is not offered for sale to individual consumers, but went to outlets that used the tuna to make sushi and other dishes to be sold in restaurants and grocery stores.

Cartons shipped to distributors were labeled with the company's name and Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA, but the FDA said the boxes may have been broken down into smaller lots for further sale, which may make it difficult for grocery stores and restaurants to identify the implicated scraped tuna. The boxes contain several vacuum-wrapped packages with no further labeling.

Go here to see images of the recalled boxes and labels.

The CDC is advising consumers not to eat the recalled Nakaochi Scrape, and to check with restaurants or grocery stores to make sure that sushi, sashimi, ceviche or other dishes served raw do not contain the product distributed by Moon Marine. If retailers and other food establishments do not know the source of their frozen raw scraped yellowfin tuna, they should check with their supplier, the CDC said.

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