FDA Advisory – Tuna Recall Over Poisoning Concerns

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(StraightNews.org) – A California fish company has voluntarily recalled its products with warnings that they could contain high levels of histamine, which causes food poisoning. Los Angeles-based Fresh Catch Inc. withdrew its yellowfin tuna under the Food and Drug Administration’s Class II recall, which applies when a product risks causing “temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences.”

The recall focuses on products with codes 461079 and 111097 and expiry dates after April 5. These are single fish loins sold in cardboard packaging labeled “keep refrigerated.” They were distributed and sold only in California.

The tuna product risks causing an illness known as scombroid poisoning, which, according to the National Library of Medicine, is a common food poisoning usually associated with fish products and caused by improper packing or storage.

Symptoms of scombroid poisoning can occur within 10 minutes of ingestion and include rash, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The symptoms usually disappear within three days, and medical treatment typically involves antihistamines and symptom control. Crucially, the presence of the histamine that causes scombroid poisoning does not alter the taste or smell of the fish product.

According to California health officials, around 35 cases of scombroid poisoning are reported in the state each year, but they concede that the actual number of cases is likely much higher. Nationwide, dozens of cases are reported yearly, and the FDA urges consumers to ensure fish is appropriately stored and refrigerated. The fish most affected are tuna, mackerel, mahi-mahi, sardines, anchovies, herring, bluefish, amberjack, and marlin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there are 48 million food poisoning incidents in the US every year, and 128,000 of these require hospitalization. Government scientists say the way people prepare food is the primary culprit. In a 2018 study, the Department of Agriculture recorded a group of volunteers preparing meals and saw that many had not washed their hands and did not use temperature thermometers correctly.

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