Food

FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B Infections Linked to Frozen Raw Tuna

July 23, 2015

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) infections. The FDA is moving quickly to investigate this issue and learn as much as possible to prevent additional people from becoming ill. We recognize that people will be concerned about these illnesses, and we will continue to provide updates and advice.

Update: July 23, 2015

On July 21, 2015, the Osamu Corporation of Gardena, California announced two voluntary recalls of yellowfin tuna from one processing plant in Indonesia. The two recalls include:

  • One lot of frozen yellowfin tuna chunk meat sold to AFC Corporation for use in sushi franchises in grocery stores throughout the U.S., which had been distributed by Osamu Corporation from May 20, 2015, to May 26, 2015. The affected lot can be identified by lot number 68568.
  • An expanded recall to include all frozen tuna (loin, saku, chunk, slice, and ground market forms) distributed by the supplier associated with the three previously recalled lots. This expanded recall includes tuna sold to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the U.S. from May 9, 2014, to July 9, 2015. These products were originally shipped from Osamu to distributors in bulk, after which the distributors sent the product to restaurants and grocery stores. Affected lots can be identified by four-digit purchase order numbers 8563 through 8599 located on each product carton box.

What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?

The FDA, CDC, and state and local officials are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) infections linked to sushi made from raw tuna. The outbreak does not implicate canned tuna.

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According to the CDC, 62 people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from 11 states: Arizona (11), California (34), Illinois (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (4), Mississippi (1), New Mexico (6), South Dakota (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (1). Most of the ill people have been reported from states in the southwestern United States or reported travel to this area of the country. Among 59 people for whom information is available, 11 (19 percent) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

While local and state health officials continue to interview ill people, the FDA is increasing its monitoring and testing of tuna. Additionally, the FDA is also conducting a traceback investigation. During traceback investigations, the FDA works with its investigational partners to identify clusters of people made ill in separate geographic areas and trace the path of food eaten by those made ill back to a common source.  This labor-intensive and painstaking work requires the collection, review, and analysis of hundreds, and at times thousands, of invoices and shipping documents. The FDA is evaluating and analyzing records to determine whether there is a common source of tuna.  At this time, a single source or supplier of tuna has not been identified to account for all illnesses.

On July 14, 2015, the Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Agriculture reported that tuna imported from Indonesia and distributed by the Osamu Corporation of Gardena, California, was linked to two cases of salmonellosis in Minnesota residents. These illnesses were linked to eating spicy tuna rolls purchased at a grocery store and a workplace cafeteria.  The outbreak strain of Salmonella bacteria was found in sealed bags of frozen raw tuna from the lot used to make the spicy tuna rolls eaten by one of the ill people. These ill people from Minnesota are part of the nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) infections.

Following discussions with the FDA and the CDC, the Osamu Corporation agreed to recall all tuna in the affected lots, which it had imported from Indonesia. These lots include previously recalled frozen yellowfin ground tuna (lot numbers 88569 and 98569) distributed by the Osamu Corporation, and frozen yellowfin chunk tuna (lot number 68568) distributed by the Osamu Corporation and tested by Minnesota state authorities.

The Osamu Corporation expanded this recall on July 21, 2015, to include all frozen tuna (loin, saku, chunk, slice, and ground market forms) that was distributed by the supplier associated with each of the three lots that had previously been recalled.  This expanded recall includes tuna that the Osamu Corporation sold throughout the U.S. from May 9, 2014, to July 9, 2015. The Osamu Corporation shipped these products in bulk to distributors who then sent the products to restaurants and grocery stores. Affected lots can be identified by four-digit purchase order numbers 8563 through 8599 located on each product carton box.

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What are the Symptoms of Salmonella?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

It is important to note that this outbreak is caused by Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) bacteria.  This type of bacteria does not cause typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever or enteric fever.

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How Soon do Symptoms Appear After Exposure?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.

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What are the Complications of Salmonella Infections?

In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

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Who is at Risk?

Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is higher than the rate in all other people. Children younger than 5 years of age, the elderly, and those people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that approximately 400 persons in the United States die each year with acute salmonellosis. Children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems should generally avoid eating raw fish of any kind.

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What Do Restaurants and Retailers Need To Do?

Restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve any frozen raw tuna that was imported from Indonesia by Osamu Corporation and was included in the latest voluntary recall.

  • These products were originally shipped from Osamu Corporation to distributors in bulk.  These distributors then sent the product to restaurants and grocery stores.
  • Affected lots can be identified by four-digit purchase order numbers 8563 through 8599 located on each product carton box.
  • The product includes all frozen tuna (loin, saku, chunk, slice, and ground market forms) that had been sold to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the U.S. from May 9, 2014, to July 9, 2015.
  • Restaurants and retailers should carefully check their freezers for recalled products. Osamu Corporation has instructed customers to return the product to their distributor for a full refund.

Restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve the previously recalled ground frozen yellowfin tuna imported from Indonesia by Osamu Corporation.

  • The products can be identified by a label bearing the lot numbers 88569 or 98569.
  • The product is frozen and has a long shelf life.
  • Restaurants and retailers should carefully check their freezers for recalled products. Osamu Corporation has instructed customers to return the product to their distributor for a full refund.

It is also recommended that restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve any frozen raw tuna that was imported from Indonesia by Osamu Corporation and which are part of the lot that Minnesota Department of Health authorities identified the outbreak strain of salmonella.

  • The product can be identified by a label bearing the lot number 68568.
  • The tuna product is composed of small pieces of raw tuna that are distributed in frozen, vacuum-sealed bags without a brand or other name.
  • The product is frozen and has a long shelf life.
  • Restaurants and retailers should carefully check their freezers for this lot of recalled product. Osamu Corporation has instructed customers to return the product to their distributor for a full refund.  To determine how to handle the recalled products, follow the recall instructions from your supplier.

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What Do Consumers Need To Do?

The FDA has provided information on selecting and serving fresh and frozen seafood safely.  Some people are at greater risk for foodborne illness and should not eat raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish. These susceptible groups include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Older adults
  • Persons whose immune systems are compromised
  • Persons who have decreased stomach acidity

If you are unsure of your risk, ask your healthcare provider.

Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures.  Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.  If more specific information becomes available FDA and CDC will share it with the public, along with any steps consumers can take to prevent illnesses.

Consumers can be assured that FDA, CDC, and state public health authorities are working closely on this investigation and will provide updates as soon as they are available.  Persons who think they might have become ill from eating any potentially contaminated food product should consult their health care providers.

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Who Should be Contacted?

People who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated raw tuna should talk to their health care providers. Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have become ill from eating raw tuna sushi.

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop the following signs and symptoms 12 – 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria:
    • Diarrhea
    • Fever
    • Abdominal cramps

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time, or to consult http://www.fda.gov.

Additional Information


The information in this release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned during the investigation. The agency will update this page as more information becomes available. 

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