FDA's Hepatitis-A Alert: Dozens of Restaurants Received Tainted Tuna

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The Food and Drug Administration just released a list of eating establishments in the U.S. that received – and may have already served – tuna steaks that have tested positive for hepatitis A.

Approximately 25 restaurants in California, Texas and Oklahoma received shipments prior to May 18, when a voluntary recall began that was initiated by the seafood distributor, Hilo Fish Company in Hawaii. The tuna, which originated in Vietnam and the Philippines, tested positive on May 1 by the Hawaii Department of Health.

On Tuesday, the FDA posted the list of businesses that purchased the frozen seafood from Hilo Fish, which notified the agency on May 16 that it had confirmed the presence of the virus in its U.S-based supply. 

While the FDA stated that some restaurants in Oklahoma received shipments, it is not clear why none were listed on its website along with the ones from California and Texas (lists courtesy: FDA). In addition, a shipment was sent to New York but the state's "Department of Health and the FDA verified that product shipped to New York was not sold to the public."

The FDA is advising that if you or anyone you know consumed either raw or undercooked tuna from these establishments within the last two weeks, that person should receive a post-exposure vaccine. If, however, it was more than two weeks ago the vaccine will most likely be ineffective.

Citing from its website, these consist of: 

  • Hepatitis A vaccine for people between the ages of 1 and 40 years
  • Hepatitis A virus-specific immunoglobulin (IG) for people outside of this age range, but the hepatitis A vaccine can be substituted if IG is not available.

If the tuna was consumed after being fully cooked, the recommendation for the consumer is to speak with a doctor or other medical professional.  

Most people infected with hepatitis A recover completely and don't suffer permanent liver damage.

According to the FDA, symptoms in adults include "fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine, and pale stool. People with hepatitis A may not have symptoms until 15 to 50 days after consuming a contaminated food or drink."

Thus far, no illnesses connected to the contaminated tuna shipment have been reported.