Tuna Steaks Recalled in 3 US States for Hepatitis A

A raw tuna steak on a cutting board
(Image credit: Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock)

A number of restaurants in California, Oklahoma and Texas received shipments of frozen tuna steaks that may be contaminated with hepatitis A, according to health officials.

The tuna products, distributed by Hilo Fish Company in Hawaii, recently tested positive for the hepatitis A virus and are being recalled, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The hepatitis A virus can infect the liver and cause symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and jaundice, which means yellowing of the skin or eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people who get hepatitis A recover completely from the illness and don't have lasting liver damage, according to the CDC.

This week, the FDA released a list of dozens of restaurants in California, Oklahoma and Texas that received the recalled products, and could have served them to customers. People who think they ate the recalled tuna in the last two weeks should contact their healthcare provider, the FDA said. So far, no cases of illness tied to the recalled tuna products have been reported.

The CDC recommends that customers who ate the tuna in a raw or undercooked form in the last two weeks get the post-exposure vaccine. There are two options: The hepatitis A vaccine is generally recommended for people ages 1 to 40, and the hepatitis A virus-specific immunoglobulin (IG) vaccine is usually recommended for people outside that range.

People who have already been vaccinated against hepatitis A do not need another shot, the FDA said.  [Top 7 Germs in Food that Make You Sick]

People who ate the recalled products more than two weeks ago won't benefit from post-exposure prophylactic treatment, the agency said. Those who ate the tuna fully cooked are at a lower risk of contracting the illness, but are encouraged to consult with a doctor.

Hepatitis A can range from a mild illness lasting just a few weeks, to a severe illness lasting several months, the FDA said. In rare cases, the virus can cause liver failure and even death, the CDC said. Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to six weeks after exposure to the virus.

Hilo Fish Company notified the FDA of the contaminated products on May 16, and the company recalled the products on May 18. The recalled products were sourced from two companies: Sustainable Seafood Company in Vietnam, and Santa Cruz Seafood Inc. in the Philippines.

Some of the recalled products were also shipped to restaurants in New York, but the New York State Department of Health and the FDA determined that the recalled products were not sold to the public.

Earlier in May, a separate tuna recall involved products sold in Hawaii. That recall involved tuna distrusted by Tropic Fish Hawaii LLC, which is a subsidiary of Hilo Fish Company, the FDA said.

Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.