The outbreak of Salmonella illnesses traced to eating sushi containing contaminated raw yellowfin tuna known as Nakaochi scrape has grown to encompass 200 confirmed illnesses in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Vermont was the latest state to be added to the list.

There is no longer even the slightest shadow of a doubt that the scrape yellowfin – which resembles ground tuna – is the source of this outbreak. Both FDA and the state of Wisconsin have confirmed the Salmonella Bareilly outbreak strain in food samples.

Two days ago, Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection laboratory reported confirming the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly in the recalled yellowfin tuna and in a spicy tuna roll made with the recalled tuna. The DNA fingerprinting of the Salmonella was carried out by the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, located at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Earlier today, FDA chimed in with its own announcement. FDA labs reported finding the Salmonella Bareilly outbreak strain in a sample of Nakaochi scrape yellowfin tuna obtained from a distributor of the raw fish product. The same sample contained a strain of Salmonella Nchanga that was indistinguishable from bacteria isolated from an additional cluster of 10 infections in 5 states. FDA also recovered Salmonella Bareilly from a sample of Nakaochi scrape yellowfin tuna obtained from a different distributor.

As a result of FDA’s lab findings, CDC has expanded its definition of the outbreak to include both Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga.

The raw tuna product was imported from India. On April 19th, FDA’s New Delhi office initiated a seafood (HACCP) inspection of the manufacturer’s facility (Moon Fishery Pvt Ltd, Aroor, India). The agency was informed that April 12, 2012 was the last day of tuna processing at the firm due to the seasonal nationwide ban on tuna harvest from the Indian Ocean. FDA has promised to post the inspection results once the report has been finalized.

CDC advises retailers and establishments not to serve raw recalled frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corporation. Establishments and retailers should check with their suppliers to confirm the source of the tuna product.

CDC offers the following Advice to Consumers

  • Do not eat the recalled frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corporation. This product is tuna backmeat that is scraped from the bones of tuna and may be used to make sushi, particularly “spicy tuna” sushi.
  • If you purchase “spicy tuna” or other sushi, sashimi, ceviche, or similar dishes that might contain Nakaochi Scrape tuna product from a restaurant or grocery store, check with the establishment to make sure that it does not contain raw recalled product from Moon Marine USA Corporation. When in doubt, don’t eat it.
  • Persons who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated raw Nakaochi Scrape tuna product should consult their healthcare providers.
  • Infants, older adults, pregnant women, and persons with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness and should not eat raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish. If you are unsure of your risk, ask your healthcare provider.