True World Foods announced today that it has been cleared of allegations that it distributed tainted scallops to sushi restaurants in Hawaii.
The seafood distributor, based in Rockleigh, N.J., had imported frozen Sea Port Bay Scallops but they were embargoed at its Honolulu warehouse last week for fear they were contaminated by hepatitis A. None made it to any restaurants, the Hawaii Department of Health confirmed.
True World said today it is destroying the suspect scallops under the supervision of the Food and Drug Administration.
The company said it has also suspended the sale of any seafood produced by the supplier implicated in the hepatitis A outbreak, De Oro Resources Inc., of Suba Basbas, Philippines.
As of Wednesday, 228 people have contracted hepatitis A in the outbreak that health authorities traced to frozen scallops that were served raw at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. Those scallops were supplied by another distributor.
On Aug. 18, three lots of frozen Bay Scallops, produced on Nov. 23 and 24, and numbered 5885, 5886 and 5887, were recalled by their importer, Sea Port Products Corp., of Kirkland, Wash. None of the scallops at True World’s other 22 warehouses across the country were from those lots, but sales were stopped in any case.
“This incident marks the first time in our 38-year history that seafood distributed by True World Foods has been linked to hepatitis A contamination, despite the fact that we sold 34 million pounds of seafood last year,” said Robert Bleu, the company’s president. “Food safety is a top priority at our company, and we are continually monitoring our suppliers, processes and procedures to protect the health of every consumer who eats at any of our customer sites.”
Cooking scallops to 185 degrees Fahrenheit would have killed the virus, the company said.