Hepatitis A Found in Tuna Sold in Hawaii

In the last week, Tropic Fish Hawaii announced a voluntary recall on canned tuna products that they had just received and distributed to island stores. The cubed tuna was imported from their seller in Indonesia, and arrived in Hawaii ready to be sold. Post being transported to markets at food vendors, who purchase from Tropic Fish Hawaii, the company ran some tests on it like normal protocol. The results that followed proved the fish to be contaminated, testing positive for Hepatitis A.

Tropic Fish Hawaii is a subsidiary of CMU and Associates, who are big sellers to Times Supermarkets. Last year after an outbreak of Hepatitis A in another meat purchased by Times Supermarkets, they made it a requirement for all their vendors to run Hep A tests prior to selling to them. In this case, the requirement proved to be very handy. Without running the uncommon test, Tropic Fish and CMU would have no idea what their cubed tuna contained.

Immediately, they put out a recall on all the products that they had just sold to each of the locations of which it was sent. Of course, the Hawaii Dept. of Health was also notified right away. US News states that, “the possibly tainted fish was delivered to Times Supermarket, Shima's in Aiea, Kailua, Kaneohe, Kunia, Liliha, Mililani, Waipahu and Waimanalo. It was also used to prepare food delivered to GP Hawaiian Food Catering, the Crab Shack Kapolei, Aloha Sushi and the ABC store in Honolulu”. Some of the places state that fortunately, none of the contaminated food made it to customers. However, not all consumers were lucky enough to completely miss the intake of the fish. According to Hawaii Public Radio, the fish was used to prepare dishes between the dates of April 27th, and May 1st.

The Hawaii Department of Health reported on May 3rd, days after the initial story, that indeed an ABC store located on 205 Lewers St. had received and sold the contaminated cans after shipment had arrived the morning of delivery. On the other side, the DOH also reported on May 3rd that Aloha Sushi did not sell any of the tuna that they had received with their separate shipment.

Of the sold 200 cases, 140 were recovered and sent back. Typically foods are testing before being shipped out to buyers, but that was not the case with this particular batch. Unfortunately, this was the one time that test results were absolutely necessary. In 2016, the FDA inspected Tropic Fish Hawaii and released a report, stating many violations their inspectors had observed during investigation of the premises. First, it stated that the company possessed serious violations to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations. It deemed that various seafoods such as: Ahi tuna, mahi mahi, and skipjack tuna, were in serious violation for being stored under insanitary conditions that were rendered dangerous. They also stated TFH needed to make a new HACCP plan, stating how they were going to fix problems and prevent an unsafe environment in the future. Food was observed being stored in improper temperatures, too high above health safety guidelines; as well as being packed in damaged containers. They were advised to keep their areas more clean than they were at time of inspection due to the fact that they too did not meet guidelines. Eight bullet points of violations with in depth descriptions are listed under this report.

Shawn Tanoue, the President of Tropic Fish Hawaii last year assured that problems within the Oahu division of the company would be solved, pertaining to health issues and violations. Since then, no other issues or complaints have surfaced the face of the news or media until the tuna output. Shawn assures that proper measures will be taken in the future and personally apologizes so all consumers and companies that TFH sells to. A full investigation is to be held not only of this food vendor, but also where the cubed tuna was originally exported from.

The CDC defines Hepatitis A as a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis virus, commonly referred to and otherwise known as HAV. It is transmitted to a new host by person to person contact(blood, saliva, and other bodily fluids), fecal-oral connection, or by consumption of contaminated food or beverage. In severe forms, Hepatitis A can lead to complete liver failure or more extremely, death. Hep. A symptoms are typically dormant until a few weeks post contraction. These include that of: fatigue, nausea and vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, change in stool, abdominal pain or pressure, joint pain, jaundice, and possible change in color of urine.

Immunoglobulin is an injection made of blood plasma that contains antibodies that are equipped to fight off Hepatitis A cells in the body of the infected person(s). Hepatitis A IG is used and injected into a muscle in the presymptom stage or early stages of Hepatitis diagnosis. With that being said, Sarah Park with the DOH says, “because it generally takes two weeks for those infected to develop symptoms of Hepatitis A, vaccination or immune globulin can still provide some protection against the disease for those who may have been exposed in the last week”.

Those with a previous HAV vaccination are less susceptible to contracting the disease, however officials advise anybody who has possibly come in contact with the frozen tuna to get a vaccination as soon as possible. Signs of symptoms usually begin to appear two to three weeks post consumption, therefor any kind of vaccination prior to gaining symptoms is advised and said to be helpful in aiding prevention from Hep. A and any other forms of HIV. People who are experiencing symptoms and have consumed these products should seek immediate medical attention. However, keep in mind that many early symptoms of HIV are similar to many other forms of illness not relating to Hepatitis. TFH wants to assure all buyers that they will have high procedural checks in the future before any form of distribution to any company they have sold to or will sell to.

Works Cited

  • "2016 - Tropic Fish Hawaii, LLC 7/27/16." U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2017.
  • "Disease Outbreak Control Division." Disease Outbreak Control Division | Imported Frozen Raw Tuna (Ahi) Cubes Distributed on Oahu Test Positive for Hepatitis A; Voluntary Product Recall Underway. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2017.
  • Harlow, Casey. "Frozen Ahi Tests Positive for Hepatitis A." Hawaii Public Radio-HPR2. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2017.
  • "Hepatitis A Symptoms." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 09 Sept. 2014. Web. 05 May 2017.
  • "Maui Now: Frozen Cubed Tuna Recalled Due to Hepatitis A." Maui Now | Frozen Cubed Tuna Recalled Due to Hepatitis A. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2017.
  • Timothy Hurley [email protected] May 02, 2017May 2, 2017Updated May 2, 2017 5:09pm. "Frozen Ahi Sold on Oahu Tests Positive for Hepatitis A." Honolulu Star-Advertiser. N.p., 02 May 2017. Web. 05 May 2017.
  • "Viral Hepatitis." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Aug. 2015. Web. 05 May 2017.