Raw fish linked to US Salmonella outbreak

The FDA, the CDC and state and local partners are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Litchfield that has sickened 33 people in California (21), Arizona (11), and Illinois (1) since mid-June 2022.

Thirteen of the outbreak victims required hospitalization.

Victims range in age from 1 to 67 years, and 59% are female.

The outbreak has been linked to fresh, raw salmon supplied to restaurants in California and Arizona by Mariscos Bahia, Inc.

Of the sixteen outbreak victims who were interviewed, twelve reported eating sushi, sashimi, or poke. Nine of the twelve remembered having eaten raw salmon prior to becoming ill.

After tracing the distribution of the raw salmon back to Mariscos Bahia, the FDA conducted an inspection of the production facility, which included collection and analysis of environmental samples.

Salmonella was recovered from multiple samples, and at least one of the samples yielded a strain of Salmonella Litchfield that was a genetic match for the outbreak strain recovered from patients.

Because the outbreak strain was found in the production environment, the FDA believes that other raw fish supplied by Mariscos Bahia may also be at risk of contamination. This includes fresh, raw halibut, Chilean seabass, tuna, and swordfish.

The company has agreed to a voluntary recall and will contact its direct customers who received recalled product.

According to the company, none of the recalled product was supplied to stores for direct purchase by customers.

The CDC warns that  true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. The agency is using the PulseNet system to identify other matching cases.

FDA’s advice to restaurants and consumers

  • Restaurants should check with their suppliers and not sell or serve salmon, halibut, Chilean seabass, tuna, and swordfish received fresh, not frozen from Mariscos Bahia, Inc. (Pico Rivera, CA and Phoenix, AZ) on or after June 14, 2022. If restaurants received these fish and then froze it, they should not sell or serve it. Restaurants should also be sure to wash and sanitize locations where these fish from Mariscos Bahia, Inc. were stored or prepared.
  • Consumers eating salmon, halibut, Chilean seabass, tuna, and swordfish at a restaurant in California or Arizona should ask whether the fish is from Mariscos Bahia, Inc and was received fresh, not frozen.

CDC’s advice to consumers

  • In general, people who are at higher risk for serious foodborne illness should not eat any raw fish or raw shellfish. People at higher risk include children younger than 5 years, pregnant people, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any of these severe Salmonella symptoms:
    • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
    • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
    • Signs of dehydration

Learn more about a variety of food safety issues in TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures, now available in digital, print and audiobook editions.

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“Reads like a true crime novel” – Food Safety News

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