Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Tuna can be a delicious fish, but also a dangerous one. I just came from the fish store. Tuna was on sale, but I decided to pass on it. It just didn't look perfectly fresh.

And that's the point: it's not just mercury. It's histamine. When tuna becomes spoiled - usually as a result of poor storage or handling - it can produce high levels of histamine protein which can lead to scromboid poisoning in people who are sensitive. (It can also happen with some other fish - see post of February 5 - "Tuna Steak Recall" for more details on these fish and on symptoms).

We currently have yet another recall of tuna for this reason. This time it is frozen ground tuna. Osamu Corporation of Gardena, California has recalled up to 1,800 cases, of frozen ground tuna because the FDA found decomposition in several samples of this fish. It also found high histamine levels in samples of the product taken from one retail location. I am assuming this fish was imported, as much of U.S. fish is these days, probably from Japan, but I have not been able to confirm this.

Apparently most of this product was distributed to companies that make sushi, especially for grocery markets, one of them mainly in California, the other with franchises in nearly every state in the U.S. Oh..Oh..

Watch out. One good thing - you don't need to worry for weeks wondering if you ate bad tuna and will get sick. You'll know pretty quickly - in under two hours, when the symptoms start (again - see the Feb. 5 post). The other good news is that usually it's not deadly, although it is very frightening. And people with liver problems, beware.

If you buy tuna, always make sure it is fresh, and don't let it spoil, or let the package defrost improperly if it is frozen. And if you are in a high risk group, and live in the U.S., avoid tuna sushi for a while, just in case contaminated products are still out there.

To your good health,


Anonymous said...

I have given up eating raw fish entirely. Including ceviche which I love. It's just not worth the risk. Thanks for keeping us posted on these outbreaks.

Anonymous said...

You should know that it was CO Tuna....carbon monoxide treated tuna.

This is produced in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, etc., but NOT in Japan.

CO Tuna is banned in most of the world because the purpose is simply to disguise the age and quality of the tuna .... have a read of this

It really is a horror .....but it is the US meat lobby which prevents its from being your minced beef will not be brown!!!

Watch out for the watermelon tuna!