Final Tally in Tuna Salmonella Outbreak at 425, CDC Says

The final tally in the massive, multi-state tuna Salmonella outbreak is 425, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak has been linked to recalled Nakaochi Scrape contaminated with two strains of the dangerous pathogen, Salmonella.

Of those who fell ill, 55 required hospitalization. The outbreak, said Food Safety News, spanned 28 states and the District of Columbia. Although more cases may be reported in coming months—likely from food establishments still serving the frozen, recalled product—the outbreak appears to be over. The recalled raw, yellowfin tuna has a long shelf life.

In all, 410 people were sickened with Salmonella Bareilly and 15 with Salmonella Nchanga. As we’ve explained, the outbreak was complex, not just because Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga are rare strains of the pathogen, but also because 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. Because of the vast distribution chain and that the fish is delivered frozen, it is difficult to determine to where the fish may have ultimately been delivered and if all recipients are aware that they are in possession of the contaminated Nakaochi Scrape.

Moon Marine USA Corporation produced the recalled Nakaochi scrape, noted Food Safety News. Based on the outbreak’s so-called “epidemiological curve,” many victims became sick after the April 13 recall, which suggests that food establishments continued to serve the recalled tuna scrape for some time after the recall was initiated.

The outbreak initially prompted a recall of 30 tons (58,828 pounds) of raw, frozen tuna that originated in India and was originally distributed by Moon Marine USA Corporation, also known as (AKA) MMI of Cupertino, California. Labeled as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA Nakaochi Scrape, the product is tuna backmeat scraped from the bones and looks like a ground product.

Food safety officials point out that for every Salmonella infection reported, some 29.3 are never reported. Using that multiplier, the number of people actually sickened in the United States as a result of the contaminated tuna is closer to 12,452. There have been no reported deaths.

To date, two women have filed a lawsuit against Moon Marine. Both are from Wisconsin—ages 22 and 33—and both were hospitalized due to a bout of Salmonellosis—Salmonella poisoning—they contracted six-to-nine weeks prior, said MSNBC previously. The women dined separately, but at the same restaurant. Both consumed tuna rolls originally sold by Moon Marine.

Salmonellosis can be dangerous, even deadly and, sometimes, infection can result in, and produce more severe or chronic illnesses and sufferers can be left with serious life-long health issues.

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