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Salmonella-tainted Tuna From Indoneasia Is A Problem on O’ahu

Health officials in Hawaii are trying to find out what and who is responsible for 33 cases of the same strain of salmonella that were confirmed between October and December of 2007.  The strain—Salmonella paratyphi B—was linked to ‘ahi tuna consumed raw, but none were linked to a specific restaurant, grocery store, or even one distributor.

Now Choyce Products of Honolulu has come forward to voluntarily recalling 5,452 pounds of frozen Yellowfin Tuna because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.  In a news release distributed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Choyce said:

The frozen Yellowfin tuna was distributed on Oahu and most likely reached consumers in the form of a mixed, previously frozen, seafood product through its customers. Choyce Products received the tuna from a mainland importer who confirmed the tuna was sent from Indonesia.

Choyce Products’ customers received the cubed tuna in frozen form. The frozen product is packaged in labeled white cardboard shipping boxes containing 22 pounds of product. These boxes each contain 11 2-pound packages of vacuum-packed product in unlabeled plastic bags. White stickers on the cardboard shipping boxes have the following code information:

  • Lot Number 0727408005899 with Production Dates October 1 and 2, 2007
  • Lot Number 0725008005899 with Production Date September 7, 2007
  • Lot Number 0726408005899 with Production Date September 21, 2007

Choyce Products unknowingly sold the tuna to its customers before learning of the possible contamination. The FDA and the state of Hawaii are conducting a joint investigation of a variety of vendors due to the state receiving Salmonella illness reports between October 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007. The source has not yet been identified. Choyce Products will destroy all returned and inventoried recalled product.

Meanwhile,  the Honolulu Advertiser reports that FDA investigators are testing tuna samples from more than 40 distributors on the island.   They says its possible the recall is not not related to to the strain of salmonella that made people sick late last year.  That story can be found here.