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  1. Recalls, Outbreaks & Emergencies

Outbreak Investigation of Salmonella Newport Linked to Frozen Ground Tuna

FDA and state partners traced distribution back to import firm. This outbreak appears to be over.

Outbreak Investigation of Salmonella Newport Linked to Frozen Ground Tuna

May 22, 2019

The United States Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses linked to frozen ground tuna imported from JK Fish of Vietnam.

On May 20, 2019, the CDC announced that this outbreak appears to be over.

Recommendation

Restaurants and retailers should check with their suppliers and not sell or serve the recalled ground tuna from Jensen Tuna. They should also be sure to wash and sanitize locations where the recalled ground tuna was stored or prepared.

It is unlikely that the recalled ground tuna was sold directly to consumers in grocery stores; rather, it was likely used in food dishes sold by restaurants or retailers. Consumers with concerns should ask their restaurants and retailers whether the tuna dish they are purchasing contains the recalled ground tuna.

Case Counts

Total Illnesses: 13
Hospitalizations: 2
Deaths: 0
Last illness onset: March 20, 2019
States with Cases: CT, IA, IL, MN, ND, NY, WA
Product Distribution*: CT, IA, IL, MN, ND, NY, WA

*Jensen Tuna distributed product to the states listed, but product could have been distributed further, reaching additional states 

What Products were Recalled?

On April 15, 2019, following discussions with FDA, CDC, and state partners, Jensen Tuna voluntarily recalled frozen ground tuna. The recalled tuna was individually packaged in one-pound bags and sold in 20-pound boxes under lot numbers z266, z271, and z272. Jensen Tuna distributed product to Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Washington, but product could have been redistributed further, reaching additional states.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella are a group of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever called salmonellosis. Most people infected with Salmonella will begin to develop symptoms 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness, salmonellosis, usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment.

Most people with salmonellosis develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. More severe cases of salmonellosis may include a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool, and in some cases may become fatal.

Who is at Risk?

Children younger than five, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe salmonellosis infections..

What Else Should Restaurants and Retailers Do?

In the event that retailers and/or other food service operators are found to have handled recalled or other potentially contaminated food in their facilities, they should:

  • Contact their local health department and communicate to their customers regarding possible exposure to Salmonella.
  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wash and sanitize display cases and surfaces used to potentially store, serve, or prepare potentially contaminated foods.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Conduct regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of cutting boards and utensils used in processing to help minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination. 

What Else Should Consumers Do?

  • People should consult their healthcare provider if they suspect that they have developed symptoms that resemble a Salmonella infection.
  • Consumers should follow these steps for preventing foodborne illness:
    • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
    • Wash and sanitize surfaces used to serve or store potentially contaminated products.
    • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Consumers can also submit a voluntarily report, a complaint, or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction) related to a food product.

Previous Updates

May 9, 2019

On May 9, 2019, JK Fish of Vietnam was added to Import Alert 16-120 for fish from foreign processors, allowing FDA to detain product from this firm without physical sampling and analysis.

April 16, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners, is investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses linked to frozen ground tuna from Jensen Tuna, sourced from JK Fish of Vietnam.

Through interviews with ill people, CDC and state partners collected and analyzed information that allowed them to identify frozen ground tuna as a possible source of illness. The FDA worked with state partners to trace the distribution of frozen ground tuna from individual case patients back to Jensen Tuna.


Who to Contact

Consumers who have symptoms should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care.

To report a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction), you can

Visit www.fda.gov/fcic for additional consumer and industry assistance.

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Additional Information