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Nearly 400 now sick from tainted tuna in sushi

By JoNel Aleccia

Nearly 400 people in 27 states and the District of Columbia have now been sickened by an outbreak of two rare strains of salmonella detected in raw tuna products used in sushi and other dishes, health officials said.
 
Some 390 have become ill and 47 have been hospitalized, up from 316 confirmed infections and 37 hospitalizations in May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed. No deaths have been reported.
 
The outbreak includes 14 people sickened by salmonella Nchanga and 376 people sickened by salmonella Bareilly, both rare strains of the foodborne pathogen. The culprit has been identified as raw Nakaochi Scrape tuna product produced by Moon Marine USA Corp. of Cupertino, Calif.
 
In April, Moon Marine recalled 58,828 pounds of the frozen tuna product. It wasn't for sale to individual customers, but may have been used to make sushi, sashimi, ceviche and similar dishes in restaurants and grocery stores.

The numbers of new cases have declined substantially since the peak of the outbreak in April, CDC officials said. Illnesses may continue, however, because some food establishments may be unaware that they received recalled product and continue to serve the raw yellowfin tuna scraped from the backbone of the fish. It has a long shelf life.

Seattle food safety lawyer Bill Marler has called on the federal Food and Drug Administration to release the names of all restaurants and other outlets where the contaminated product was distributed. FDA officials did not immediately respond to questions about the action.


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