Every year the United States Department of Agriculture issues dozens of food recalls, hoping to prevent thousands of people from becoming ill. There are many reasons that food could be recalled, including foreign bodies like the small metal pieces recently discovered in Taco Bell meat or bacteria like the well known Salmonella.
Recently, MiCal Seafood based in Cooper City, FL, issued a recall because of scombroid fish poisoning.
Tuna Recalled For Scombroid Fish Poisoning
After four individuals reported becoming ill after eating frozen fish products sold by Mical Seafood a recall went out, followed by a second recall that extended to the following products: wild-caught yellowfin tuna loins, tuna poke, tuna steaks, tuna ground meat, and tuna saku. All of the products came from Vietnam.
What is Scombroid Fish Poisoning?
Also known as histamine fish poisoning, scombroid fish poisoning is caused by fish that have high levels of histamine and can cause a patient to have something that resembles an allergic reaction.
The symptoms of scombroid fish poisoning can occur as quickly as two minutes after eating or may occur several hours later. Symptoms include:
- burning sensations in the mouth
- facial flushing
Generally speaking, fish from the tuna family seem to be more likely to contain high levels of histamines and to cause this reaction.
What Should I Do If I Experience Symptoms?
If your symptoms are severe you should seek medical care immediately, high doses of antihistamines may be required.
Can Scombroid Fish Poisoning Be Prevented?
The bacteria that can cause the high levels of histamine in fish can produce substantial amounts in a matter of hours if the fish is 39 degrees or warmer. This is why it’s important to refrigerate the fish from the time it is caught to the time it is consumed.
If the fish has a bad odor or has a honeycombed look, it shouldn’t be eaten at all.
Why Else Would Fish Be Recalled?
There are many issues that could call fish to be recalled, including:
- E coli: E coli is another type of bacteria that is typically harmless – after all, e coli lives in our intestines every day! However, there are strains of e coli that produce a toxin called Shiga. Shiga causes damage to the linings of the intestine and causes severe diarrhea, cramps, and vomiting. In particularly bad cases, patients may be diagnosed with kidney failure, fever, seizures, and internal bleeding.
- Mercury: While most seafood has a little bit of mercury in it, sometimes the levels are too high.
If you eat fish on a regular basis, you should regularly check the Department of Agriculture website for any possible recalls, just to be safe. Or, if you and your loved ones have consumed fish and become ill, be sure to report the issue to a doctor. While you and your family may have had only mild reactions, another patient may experience a reaction that could result in hospitalization and extensive medical treatment.