Tuna Hepatitis A: FDA and CDC Continue Investigation into Tuna Hepatitis A Illnesses
On May 1, 2017, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDH) identified the Hepatitis A virus in a sample of frozen Indonesian tuna, distributed in cubes. HDH immediately reported the Tuna Hepatitis A finding to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). By the next day, the FDA had identified Tropic Fish Hawaii LLC and Hilo Fish Company, and opened an investigation. Tropic Fish Hawaii LLC immediately issued a initiated a limited recall of the product that had been distributed on Oahu, and state authorities issued an embargo of the implicated product.
As is often the case, the list of Tuna Hepatitis A contaminated product continued to grow. Two weeks after the initial recall, Hilo Fish Company was notified that samples of additional tuna being held in cold storage had also tested positive for Hepatitis A. Among the entities to receive the tainted tuna were Sustainable Seafood Company and Santa Cruz Seafood, These establishments had a much wider distribution area, including restaurants and retail outlets in California, Texas, New York and Oklahoma.
According to the FDA, the responsibility for warning clients about possible Tuna Hepatitis A contamination falls on the company:
It is the responsibility of the Hilo Fish Company to notify its customers about the voluntary recall. It is also the responsibility of any company that received a recall notice from Hilo Fish Company to notify its customers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not yet identified illnesses linked to the consumption of the Tuna Hepatitis A contaminated products, but health officials remain wary. CDC is recommending post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for people who have not been vaccinated if they consumed the product in the last two weeks – during that time, since Hepatitis A has an incubation period of 15 to 50 days, the post-exposure prophylaxis vaccine is believed to be effective in preventing onset of acute Hepatitis A.
While New York believes it has removed the potentially harmful tuna from the market, the FDA has provided a list of establishments in California, Oklahoma and Texas that may have fed the product to its patrons.
For more information about Tuna Hepatitis A contaminated products, call a Hepatitis lawyer at 1-888-335-4901.