Months after the first cases of salmonella sickenings from tainted tuna were reported, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest and possibly final announcement is both good and bad news.
The good: The rash of infections is thought to be over.
To date, 425 people in 28 states and the District of Columbia have fallen ill after eating Nakaochi scrape, a recalled tuna product often served in sushi. Of those people, 55 required hospitalization. Most people affected were sickened with Salmonella Bareilly. Fifteen came down with Salmonella Nchanga.
The bad: The recall seems to have failed. A significant number of people were infected after the April 13 recall, which means that restaurants and other establishments continued to serve it after that point. Since the product is frozen, it has a long shelf-life and more cases may surface in the coming months.
Food Poison Journal has an alarming graph showing the sickenings' epidemiological curve. Nearly 50 percent of victims fell ill after April 13, and food establishments continued to serve the tainted tuna as recently as two weeks ago.
Tuna scrape is made by scraping small bits of meat from the backbones of fish after the prime filets have already been removed. The end product looks like ground fish.
When news first broke, Moon Marine USA Corp. of Cupertino, Calif. voluntarily recalled 58,828 pounds of frozen raw yellowfin tuna, which was labeled as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA. It was later determined that unsanitary conditions in the Indian facility that produced the product led to the initial contamination.
In late April, two Wisconsin women filed a lawsuit claiming they were dangerously sickened after eating tuna sushi rolls containing Nakaochi Scrape at a local restaurant. One of the women was diagnosed with an ulcerated colon, which she believes stemmed from the infection.