FDA confirms frozen imported scallops contaminated with hepatitis A in Hawaii

(Photo: Hawaii Department of Health via KHON)

HONOLULU (KHON) – Laboratory tests conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on products in Hawaii 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. The state of Hawaii issued an embargo on the product.

“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 KHON discovered was slapped with an FDA import refusal on an April 29 scallops shipment. The FDA classified the shipment 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,” said Park.

As of August 17, Hawaii’s DOH has confirmed a total of 206 cases of hepatitis A as part of this outbreak investigation.

The state is encouraging anyone who may have consumed the product to contact a doctor in order to receive a vaccine or immune globulin (IG). The treatment can help prevent the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure.

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