Raw salmon used in sushi and poke linked to US salmonella outbreak

Published on
October 20, 2022
A map of states where residents have been sickened by salmonella believed to have originated at a Mariscos Bahia facility in California.

Raw salmon supplied to sushi and poke restaurants has resulted in a multistate outbreak of salmonella infections in the United States.

Thirty-three illnesses and 13 hospitalizations are linked to the outbreak, traced back to Pico Rivera, California, U.S.A.-based supplier Mariscos Bahia, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a press release.

The FDA, the Centers for Disease Control, and state and authorities are investigating the outbreak. No deaths have occurred as a result of the outbreak.

Of 16 people interviewed by authorities, 12 reported eating sushi, sashimi, or poke at restaurants in California and Arizona. Of those interviewed, 11 people remembered details about the type of fish consumed and nine report eating raw salmon before getting sick.

While the FDA is certain that the raw salmon was shipped to restaurants in California and Arizona, it could also have been distributed to additional states, the agency said.

The FDA collected an environmental sample that included multiple swabs at Mariscos Bahia’s Pico Rivera facility that were positive for salmonella. Subsequent whole-genome sequencing analysis is ongoing, but the analysis so far has detected salmonella from at least one of the swabs from the facility matches the outbreak strain.

“While epidemiological evidence indicates that ill people consumed fresh, raw salmon processed at this firm, the presence of salmonella in the processing environment indicates that additional types of fish processed in the same area of the facility could also be contaminated which includes fresh, raw halibut, Chilean sea bass, tuna, and swordfish,” the FDA said. “Salmon, halibut, Chilean sea bass, tuna, and swordfish processed in Marisco Bahia Pico Rivera facility could have also been sent to the Mariscos Bahia facilities in Phoenix, Arizona, and then sent to restaurants.”

The supplier is cooperating with the FDA investigation and has agreed to initiate a voluntary recall. Marisco Bahia has said it will contact its direct customers who received recalled product, according to the FDA

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 on or after 14 June, 2022.

“If restaurants received these fish [fresh] and then froze [them], they should not sell or serve it,” the FDA said.

Graphic courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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