Tuna steaks contaminated with Hepatitis A discovered in three states – USA TODAY
You might want to slow down before stabbing your fork into that tuna steak.
Consumers may be at risk of being exposed to Hepatitis A from contaminated tuna steaks distributed by Hilo Fish Company to restaurants in California, Texas and Oklahoma, according to the U.S. Food and Drug administration. Hilo Fish Company began recalling tuna that had a positive test of the virus on May 18.
The first indication of a possible contamination was on May 1st, when the Hawaii Department of Health notified the FDA of frozen tuna samples from Indonesia that had been tested positive for Hepatitis A.
The recalled tuna products from Hilo Fish Company included 8-ounce tuna steaks, with an October 1, 2018 expiration date and 15-pound cases of Frozen Yellowfin tuna cubes, with an expiration date of April 1, 2019. Both are individually vacuumed packed.
Restaurants in the three states who received shipments of the potentially contaminated fish have been notified of the contamination. The affected tuna, originally sourced from Sustainable Seafood Company and Santa Cruz Seafood, was also distributed to locations in New York, but the New York State Department of Health and the FDA confirmed that the product had not been distributed to consumers.
There have been no known cases of Hepatitis A stemming from the recalled frozen tuna reported, according to the FDA and the CDC. The FDA is continuing to investigate the outbreak and collect samples of the seafood from the companies.
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver’s ability to properly function, while causing inflammation. The virus comes from contaminated food or water as well as infected persons. People aged 1 to 40 can receive the Hepatitis A vaccination to prevent infection altogether; those outside the age range can opt for a virus-specific immunization.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A include jaundice, dark urine, fatigue, abdominal pains and pale stool. Those who are infected may not see or feel the symptoms of the virus until 15 to 50 days after consuming the contaminated food or drink, according to the FDA.
What should consumers do?
If you find yourself experiencing the systems of the virus from the recalled tuna, the FDA suggests you immediately call your healthcare provider. Unvaccinated people who have consumed any of the recalled tuna either raw or undercooked in the past two weeks are advised to provide a post exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
To prevent the spread of Hepatitis A in and outside of your home, the CDC suggests that consumers should always handle their food with care. Maintaining good hygiene by washing surfaces and hands before preparing food and after using the bathroom can help prevent the spread of the virus. The most frequent sources of the virus come from shellfish, fruit, and salads.
Those with questions or concerns about the contaminated tuna or any foodborne illnesses are encouraged to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD.