Recalls and a Lawsuit Result from Sushi-Based Salmonella Outbreak

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A nationwide outbreak of salmonella linked to sushi has sickened at least 316 people, including nine people in Connecticut. Investigators identified as the likely source a product made from raw yellowfin tuna imported from India, known as Nakaochi Scrape. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced two separate recalls related to the outbreak. No one has died due to poisoning in this outbreak, but numerous victims have required hospitalization. At least one victim has filed a lawsuit against the company that imported the product, California-based Moon Marine USA Corporation (MMI), claiming reimbursement for medical bills.

Salmonella is a bacterium that can contaminate various food products. It can cause salmonellosis in humans, which features fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps lasting four to seven days. Most victims fully recover, but it can be fatal, particularly for infants, the elderly, and people with weakened or compromised immune systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 316 cases of salmonella poisoning by two different strains of the bacterium. Most of the cases, 304 total, involve the rare strain Salmonella Bareilly. All of the Connecticut cases involve this strain. Another twelve cases involve Salmonella Nchanga. The first cases probably began around January 28, 2012, continuing until May 3, but illnesses occurring after April 17 might not have been reported yet. Officials say that 29.3 cases go unreported for every reported salmonella case. Laboratory tests conducted by several state health agencies, including one in Connecticut, found salmonella in ninety-six percent of the sample packages of Nakaochi Scrape they tested.