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International Society for Infectious Diseases <http://www.isid.org>

Date: Tue 3 Jul 2012
Source: Grimsby Telegraph [edited]

Food hygiene experts have intercepted and destroyed 90 kg [200 lb] of tuna loin after a shipment was linked to 4 cases of poisoning. The officers from North East Lincolnshire Council [NELC] acted after receiving a report that crew members of a vessel leaving Immingham had developed symptoms similar to those of histamine poisoning, which can occur if tuna is not kept at the appropriate temperature.

A consignment of frozen tuna loin stored at Immingham was identified as being the probable cause. It had originated from Viet Nam and was passing through the area to be supplied to the shipping industry.

Further analysis of the consignment revealed that histamine levels were above the legal limits. The symptoms of such poisoning resemble those of an allergic reaction, including nausea, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, itching, oral burning, red rash, flushing, and hypotension.
Symptoms usually appear within 2 hours of ingestion and subside within
16 hours.

The crew, who are no longer in the area, are now said to be fit and well.

Julie Moody, principal environmental health officer at NELC, said:
"Tuna is particularly susceptible to histamine contamination if it is not handled and stored appropriately -- that's why we would strongly urge people to remember to keep fresh tuna chilled and to eat it before the use-by date.

"It is likely that the tuna in this case was not kept at appropriate temperatures for the entire length of its journey, allowing the histamine to accumulate. It would be difficult to ascertain at this stage where along the chain the temperature was not controlled properly, but we have acted to ensure that no one else is affected. In these cases we see to it that the product is properly destroyed, so that there is no chance it can somehow re-enter the food chain."

Councillor David Bolton, portfolio holder for community safety and neighbourhoods, added: "Even though the tuna was not destined for shops in North East Lincolnshire, this is very important work by the food health team. I am sure that, because of their swift action in removing the tuna from the food chain, they will have prevented numerous further cases of food poisoning."

communicated by:

[Scombroid fish poisoning occurs after eating fish with high levels of accumulated histamine or other biogenic amines. Histamine is produced and can accumulate when bacterial enzymes metabolize naturally occurring histidine in fish. This most often occurs when fish is held at ambient or high temperatures (such as 70 to 90 deg F / 21.1 to 32.2 deg C) for several hours, but can occur at more moderate temperatures (over 45 deg F or over 7.2 deg C). Rapid chilling of fish immediately after catch is the most effective measure to prevent scombroid fish poisoning. Fish from the family _Scombridae_ (such as tuna and
mackerel) contain high levels of free histidine in muscle tissue and are the commonest sources of scombroid fish poisoning, but other fish (such as mahi mahi, amberjack, bluefish, abalone, and sardines) also have been implicated.

The symptoms of scombroid are identical to those of an allergic reaction since the mediator of both are the same, histamine; but in scombroid's case, the histamine is externally produced and not secreted by the affected person's mast cells. The symptoms generally begin 15-60 minutes after ingestion and usually resolves within several hours. - Mod.LL

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of the United Kingdom can be seen at <http://healthmap.org/r/2GHs>. - Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]

[see also:
Scombroid poisoning, tuna - Sweden: (Stockholm) restaurant
Scombroid poisoning, ground tuna - USA: recall, alert 20111014.3080 Scombroid poisoning, tuna - Canada: (BC), sandwich chain, alert
Scombroid poisoning, tuna - USA: (New England) 20090706.2427 Scombroid poisoning, tuna - Viet Nam 20090623.2292 Scombroid poisoning, tuna - UK: (Scotland) 20090417.1461
Scombroid poisoning, tuna - UK: (Scotland) 20081208.3852
Scombroid poisoning, tuna, 2006 - USA (LA, TN) ex Asia 20070820.2714
Scombroid poisoning, frozen fish - Israel: recall 20050610.1619
Scombroid poisoning, tuna - USA (PA): suspected 20020827.5166] .................................................ll/mj/sh
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