Laboratory tests conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on products collected this month confirm that Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen) were contaminated with hepatitis A.
The imported frozen scallops were served raw at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. A statewide embargo on the product is already in place.
"I would like to thank our federal partners, the FDA and CDC for their collaboration with our staff throughout this ongoing investigation," said Hawaii Department of Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. "The corroboration by the FDA of our data analysis and conclusions provides welcome and critical evidence for our continuing investigative work."
The Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen) product originated in the Philippines and states "Product of the Philippines" on the packaging. The product is produced by De Oro Resources Incorporated, which is located in Suba Basbas, Philippines, and is imported by Sea Port Products Corporation, located in Washington State.
De Oro Resources is the same company Always Investigating pointed out Wednesday that was slapped with an FDA import refusal on an April 29 scallops shipment in what the FDA classified as "filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance or be otherwise unfit for food."
It had just that one violation in the FDA database over the past couple years.
Koha Oriental Foods had supplied the product to Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai.
The Hawaii State Department of Health confirmed that True World Foods did not send the implicated frozen imported scallops to the Maui and Hawaii Island Genki Sushi restaurants. Health inspectors were able to embargo the product at the True World Food warehouse on Oahu before it was distributed.
"This laboratory confirmation is important validation of our investigation findings," said state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. "We are also grateful to the public for their active role in adding critical pieces to solve the puzzle."
DOH investigation and sanitation staff have logged thousands of hours interviewing cases, gathering information, tracing products, and analyzing data, according to Park. "We are continuing efforts to end this outbreak by working to assure no other product is left in the state and to monitor for those who unfortunately may have been infected and do not yet have symptoms."
As of August 17, DOH has confirmed a total of 206 cases of hepatitis A as part of this outbreak investigation.
Vaccination provides the best protection from hepatitis A, so any persons who may have consumed this product may want to contact their healthcare providers about receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG). This may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure. A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies can be found online here, or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.
Help prevent the spread of hepatitis A by washing your hands often and thoroughly.
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