Is Our Sushi Safe? Tuna Imports Locked Down

Where ‘Buying American’ can make a big difference … 

Americans’ appetite for sushi may be contributing to contamination of our food supply 

Barefoot fishermen harvest tuna in an image from the website of Sustainable Seafood Co. Ltd. of Cam Lam, Vietnam. The company’s tuna is the subject of an FDA Import Alert due to hepatitis A contamination. 

(Headline Health) Many of us say we want to buy American products, but then forget to read the labels or ask questions in the one store whose products can have the biggest impact on our lives: the supermarket.

Sometimes we just assume that foods are domestically sourced when in fact they are imported from distant lands that have appalling standards for food safety.

Latest example: Tuna from Vietnam that’s contaminated with hepatitis A.

Food contamination can happen anywhere, even the kitchen of your favorite hometown pizza shop, as Headline Health recently reported.

But consuming imported foods exposes you to added risks due to the poor health status of many Third World food workers and the relative ineffectiveness of food processing regulations and enforcement.

In spite of a very official looking certificate of compliance with global food safety standards, U.S. inspectors have found hepatitis A contamination in products for the Sustainable Seafood Co. Ltd. of Cam Lam, Vietnam. Perhaps the broken English in the company’s documentation should have been a giveaway.  

Your local grocer can’t tell you if there’s hepatitis in your tuna, but he should be able to tell you where it came from. Check the labels, and if you don’t see the source, ask.

FDA blocks tuna from Vietnamese company for hepatitis A

(Food Safety News) The expansion Wednesday of an Import Alert means the automatic detention at the U.S. border of fresh and frozen raw tuna from a Vietnamese seafood company because of hepatitis A contamination.

Sustainable Seafood Co. Ltd. of Cam Lam, Vietnam, is the second Asian company to make the Import Alert list for fresh and frozen raw tuna because of hepatitis A contamination.

Two weeks ago, on Dec. 1, the Food and Drug Administration added fresh and frozen tuna from Indonesia’s P.T. Deho Canning Co. to the same Import Alert.

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“Hepatitis A virus is excreted in feces of infected people and can produce clinical disease when susceptible individuals consume contaminated water or foods, ” the FDA Import Alert says.

Hepatitis A transmission is mostly through person-to-person contact through fecal contamination.

“Poor sanitation and crowding facilitate transmission. Contamination of foods by infected workers in food production facilities/processing plants and restaurants is common. No known non-human sources of the virus exist,” according to FDA.

The agency says the hepatitis A virus contamination of the seafood is a result of unsanitary conditions in the production or packing facilities, such as reduced worker hygiene, inadequate worker sanitation facilities, and contaminated water supplies. Read the full story at Food Safety News.