Sushi has been determined to be the culprit in the ongoing and growing Salmonella outbreak plaguing a number of states and Washington DC. Sushi has been recalled in connection with that outbreak.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Moon Marine USA Corporation is recalling its frozen, raw yellowfin tuna product. According to the Associated Press (AP), 58,828 pounds of the potentially contaminated frozen raw yellowfin tuna has been recalled. The AP also notes that there could be a 30-day lag from consumption of tainted yellowtail until Salmonella poisoning is reported to health officials.
“Nakaochi Scrape,” linked to the multi-state outbreak of the Salmonella Bareilly pathogen was originally distributed by Moon Marine USA Corporation, also known as (AKA) MMI of Cupertino, California. The tuna product, labeled as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA Nakaochi Scrape is tuna backmeat that is specifically scraped from the bones and looks like a ground product.
The recalled Nakaochi Scrape, although not available for individual consumer sale, is used in the making of sushi, sashimi, ceviche, and other similar dishes that are purchased from grocery stores or ordered at restaurants.
The company name and the words “Nakaochi Scrape AA” or “Nakaochi Scrape AAA” appeared on white boxes of the product when it was initially sold through distributors to restaurants and groceries; the words Moon Marine USA Corporation, AKA MMI, and identifying information concerning the Nakaochi Scrape, appear in black lettering. The boxes contained several vacuum-wrapped packages with no further labeling and may have been broken into smaller lots for further sale and may not be available to the end retailer or consumer. Because of this, the recalled tuna may not be readily identifiable by retail outlets or by consumers as originating from the recalled lots.
To date, 116 illnesses have been reported in 20 states and Washington DC and those illnesses have led to 12 hospitalizations. Many of those sickened reportedly consumed raw tuna in spicy tuna sushi rolls.
The FDA advises consumers purchasing spicy tuna or other sushi, sashimi, ceviche, or similar dishes potentially containing Nakaochi Scrape from a restaurant or grocery store to check with the establishment to ensure the food does not contain any raw, recalled product from Moon Marine USA Corporation, AKA MMI. Product sellers, including distributors and restaurants, should consult their suppliers to determine if the Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA in their possession originated from Moon Marine USA Corporation, AKA MMI. The redistributed product may not be accompanied by lot numbers or labeling information.
The FDA is collaborating with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners and is working closely with MMI.
CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell said in a statement to CNN that “on initial interviews, many of the ill persons reported consuming sushi, sashimi, or similar foods in a variety of locations in the week before becoming ill.”