In Brief

Tuna Steaks Recalled Because They May Cause This Weird Type of Food Poisoning

Tuna steaks
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Yellowfin tuna products sold in 16 U.S. states are being recalled because they have the potential to cause an odd type of food poisoning that resembles an allergic reaction.

On Sept. 6, the company Alfa International Seafood issued a voluntary recall of its refrigerated, yellowfin tuna steak products, which were sold at Kroger grocery stores and several other chains owned by Kroger, according to a statement from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The steaks were recalled because several people who ate the products developed symptoms of so-called scombroid fish poisoning. This type of food poisoning happens when people eat fish that's contaminated with high levels of histamine, a natural compound that causes allergy-like symptoms.

The contamination occurs when certain types of fish aren't properly refrigerated and bacteria break down the fish's flesh, resulting in high levels of histamine, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Symptoms of scombroid fish poisoning can include a tingling or burning sensation in the mouth, facial swelling, rash, hives and itchy skin, as well as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the FDA.

So far, five illnesses have been linked with the recalled products.

The recalled fish was sold between Aug. 20 and Sept. 7 at stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, according to the statement.

People who purchased the recalled products should not eat them and return them to the store for a full refund, the FDA said.

Originally published 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.