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Company issues voluntary recall of scallops linked to hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii

  • DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

    The Department of Health showed a box of the Sea Port Bay Scallops that tested positive for the hepatitis A virus.

The company that distributed frozen, raw scallops connected to a hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii has issued a voluntary recall of the product, the Food and Drug Administration said.

The scallops were distributed by Sea Port Products Corp. in California, Hawaii and Nevada and produced on Nov. 23, 2015 and Nov. 24, 2015, according to an update posted on the FDA.gov website.

The scallops were sold to restaurants and other vendors, but were not intended for retail sale.

“Consumers should ask the restaurant or retailer where their scallops came from to make sure they do not eat recalled Bay Scallops from Sea Port Products Corp.,” the FDA said.

FDA lab tests found hepatitis A in scallop samples, which were imported from the Philippines by Sea Port. The company has offices in Kirkland, Wash.

The health department confirmed 206 cases of hepatitis A as of earlier this week. The disease can cause fever, loss of appetite, nausea and other ailments.

“I am deeply troubled at the thought that anyone may have become ill from eating product that we shipped,” Sea Port owner Bill Dresser said in a statement Thursday. “I am also fully committed to trying to find out how this may have happened and to work to prevent it from happening again not only to Sea Port, but to the entire seafood community.”

Health officials on Monday identified frozen scallops served raw at a sushi chain as the probable source of the outbreak. They ordered 11 Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai to close. The popular restaurants, which serve sushi on conveyor belts, must dispose of their food supply and disposable items like cups and napkins and disinfect the facilities before they reopen.

There’s a Hawaii-wide embargo on the product, meaning businesses aren’t allowed to sell them and consumers are advised not to eat them, the health department said.

The state health department first announced the hepatitis A outbreak on July 1, but it struggled to identify the source because of the disease’s long incubation period. It’s been difficult for those infected to remember everything they ate and all the people with whom they had contact.

Dr. Sarah Park, the state’s epidemiologist, said one key piece of information was that 70 percent of those infected had eaten at Genki Sushi, but only 22 to 23 percent of those who replied to a department survey had. She said health officials didn’t get a response like that for any other restaurant, food chain or grocery store.

Park said the department is concerned the scallops may have been served or distributed to places other than Genki Sushi because a small number of patients say they didn’t eat at the chain. Park said the distributor said it only provided the scallops to the Genki Sushi.

Park said the health department has notified other U.S. health agencies so doctors around the country can consider travel history to Hawaii if their patients report hepatitis A symptoms.

People can contract the virus by eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, close personal contact or sex.

Vaccination is the best protection against hepatitis A, an infectious liver disease. People who think they consumed the scallops should contact their health care providers about getting the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which can provide protection if given within two weeks of exposure. Vigorous hand washing can also help prevent the spread of the virus.

A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies can be found at 808ne.ws/29l6l7D, or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 211.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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  • This is definitely going to make the national press. Does anybody test imported foodstuff. Probably yes, but not enough money to hire more inspectors or build dedicated laboratories to test them. Remember how Chinese floor boards reeking of formaldehyde got through? Will the State or Feds fly into the Philippines and will their government’s health officials cooperate or tell lies to hide their sloppy business practices? Where is the Philippines Consul General? Does this company in Cebu have insurance to cover the health costs of everyone affected and pay punitive damages? An opportunity to see how business is conducted in this third world country.

  • Can the FDA ( Food and Drug administration ) shut this company down? Or ban the Philippine company who shipped these contaminated products into the US?

  • Why law suits against Genki Sushi. If anything, the law suits should be addressed to the supplier and distributor, not the unfortunate eatery which received them. Shows that greedy folks will seize any opportunity to gain monetary enrichment if given the chance.

  • What gets me is that Kirkland, WA distributes them after importing them from the Philippines when the major producer of scallops is from Whidbey Island right down the road from them. Buy American–vote Trump.

  • In order to rule out other sources of the hepatitis A, the infected people who did not eat tainted scallops at genki need to thoroughly interviewed (if up to it) to find out if maybe they inadvertently ate the product. Could they have eaten the tainted scallops or contaminated other food from take-out platters served at parties or at workplaces?

      • What they probably probably have done is examined other types of sushi ingredients and determined that the scallops are unique to Genki.

        If the number of new infections die out, then they’ll know that they have found the sole source.

        Of course, an employee may have stolen the scallops (one package) and the 30% of the other unknown cases may be due to him/her. But with no new cases, we’ll know that the problem is gone. Problem also is that no Genki employee has gotten the disease. Perhaps they sold the scallops for the cash. Pretty clever if so.

        • Why is my reply to Wiliki awaiting moderation? Just commented on his ridiculous theories and perhaps the departure of his buddy Grabby upset his marbles.

  • US representative located in Kirkland, Washington where COSTCo has their home office???? Wonder if they are carrying any of scallops from the Philippines under the Kirkland labels.

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