Several restaurants, hotels and food businesses in Southern California have been affected by a frozen tuna recalls involving steaks and cubes that tested positive for hepatitis A. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said there are no reported illnesses or deaths as a result of this food contamination. Officials are, however, warning those who haven’t received hepatitis A vaccinations and may have consumed these products to get immediate medical attention.
The recall, which was issued May 18, includes frozen yellowfin tuna steaks from Sustainable Seafood Company and yellowfin tuna cubes from Santa Cruz Seafood. Business establishments in Orange and Los Angeles counties have been affected by this recall. The CDC is recommending post-exposure prophylaxis, a preventive medical treatment to prevent the infection from occurring, for unvaccinated people who may have eaten any of the recalled raw or undercooked tuna products in the last two weeks.
The Danger of Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can have mild or severe symptoms. Common symptoms of a hepatitis A infection include stomach aches, exhaustion, jaundice, dark urine and abnormal liver tests. The virus is usually transmitted through food and water and from an infected person to other unvaccinated individuals through intimate contact. Symptoms of hepatitis A may not become apparent until 15 to 50 days after the contaminated food has been consumed.
Steps Restaurants Need to Take
Affected restaurants and other retail locations should take appropriate actions to ensure that recalled product is not served to consumers. If any businesses find they served any recalled product within the last two weeks, they should contact their local health department and wherever possible, notify their consumers about possible exposure to hepatitis A virus and the potential benefit of post exposure prophylaxis.
Retailers and restaurants that have handled the contaminated food in their facilities are required to wash and sanitize display cases where the potentially contaminated products were stored as well as cutting boards and surfaces used to prepare and serve those products. Employees must wash hands with soap and hot water after the cleaning and sanitization process.
What Can You Do?
If you have become sick as a result of eating the recalled tuna, contact your doctor right away. Hepatitis A can have serious health consequences. Contact your local healthcare agency to report your illness. Call an experienced food poisoning lawyer who can help evaluate your case and better explain your legal rights and options. You may be eligible to receive compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress.