Yellowfin tuna product is the likely source of the Salmonella Bareilly outbreak that has sickened 116 across 21 states and has been linked to sushi, health officials announced Friday evening.

Cupertino, CA based Moon Marine USA Corporation is voluntarily recalling 58,828 pounds of its “Nakaochi Scrape” – tuna backmeat scraped off the bones of the fish and sold in a frozen, ground state – after investigators pinpointed the product as a common food source among outbreak victims. 

The implicated food is not sold directly to consumers, but is usually served by retailers in sushi, sashimi, ceviche or similar dishes containing raw fish.

Of the 53 outbreak victims interviewed, 43 (81 percent) reported eating sushi in the week preceding their illnesses. Of the 43 who recalled eating sushi, 39 (91 percent) ate sushi that contained tuna, and 36 (84 percent) specifically recalled eating a product that contained “spicy tuna.”  

Spicy Tuna Body.jpg

The recalled tuna was distributed as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA and may have been divided into smaller lots by other companies before further distribution. The original packaging is a white box with black writing naming Moon Marine USA Corporation (also known as MMI) as the importer and containing the labels “Nakaochi Scrape AA or “Nakaochi Scrape AAA.” The boxes contain vacuum-wrapped packages with no markings.

The frozen raw Nakaochi Scrape tuna was imported from a single tuna processing plant in India.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 illness clusters linked to different grocery stores or restaurants have been identified. The clusters are located in 5 states: Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Texas and Wisconsin.

Outbreak victims are in 21 states. The breakdown of illnesses by state is as follows: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (5), District of Columbia (2), Florida (1), Georgia (5), Illinois (10), Louisiana (2), Maryland (11), Massachusetts (8), Mississippi (1), Missouri (2), New Jersey (7), New York (24), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (5), Rhode Island (5), South Carolina (3), Texas (3), Virginia (5), and Wisconsin (12).

FDA is advising people who think they might have eaten the potentially contaminated product to see their healthcare providers.

Symptoms of Salmonella usually appear 12 to 72 hours after ingesting food contaminated with the bacter and include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and nausea or vomiting. Infants, elderly persons, pregnant woman and immunocompromised individuals are more likely to develop severe illness from a Salmonella infection and should not eat raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish. 

The agency warned all consumers to “take precautions when choosing to eat raw seafood and be sure that the Nakaichi Scrape is not from the implicated lots.”

“When in doubt, don’t eat it,” cautions FDA.

As for distributors or restaurants who recently purchased Nakaochi AA or AAA, FDA urges these businesses to contact their suppliers to determine whether the Nakaochi Scrape was distributed by Moon Marine USA Corporation and notes that the product may not have come with a lot number or labeling information.