In 2011, at least 200 Americans were infected with Salmonella in 21 states and the District of Columbia from raw tuna used for making sushi according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The question is, why and what we can do to help reduce our risk of foodborne illness from our diet.
There are two strains of Salmonella that have been found at the root of the outbreak. These are Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga. Most (190 people) were infected with Salmonella Bareilly.
Sushi is raw fish. Typically it is obtained from tuna.
The states reporting infections of Salmonella Bareilly are: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (8), District of Columbia (2), Florida (1), Georgia (9), Illinois (15), Louisiana (3), Maryland (20), Massachusetts (24), Mississippi (2), Missouri (4), New Jersey (18), New York (33), North Carolina (3), Pennsylvania (7), Rhode Island (6), South Carolina (3), Texas (4), Virginia (9), Vermont (1), and Wisconsin (15).
The states reporting infections from Salmonella Nchanga are: Georgia (2), New Jersey (1), New York (5), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1).
The infections occurred between February 19 and April 5, 2012. Victims ranged from 4 years old to 86 years old. No deaths were reported. Most reported eating sushi within seven days of becoming ill. Some identified the product as “spicy sushi” or simply “sushi.” Many ate the sushi from a restaurant, and some purchased it from a grocery store.
The CDC has identified a type of yellowfin tuna product called Nakaochi Scrape, manufactured by Moon Marina USA Corporation, as the most likely source of the outbreak. Nakaochi Scrape is made by grinding up tuna that has been scraped off of the bones and other parts of the fish. Typically it is sourced from multiple suppliers, opening up the product to contamination at different points in the supply chain. Much of the sushi sold in U.S. comes from Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA.
Some have termed Nakaochi Scrape the “pink slime of the sea.”
The question this leaves is why have only 200 people reported infections from the product? Did only 200 people eat the infected sushi? Certainly, if 21 states were involved, a lot more than 200 people ate the infected sushi.
Other investigations have found that fishing fraud is often linked to foodborne outbreaks.
While most researchers point to immunosuppression as the difference – meaning that those infected were likely immunosuppressed – the more likely difference is found among two decades of research on probiotics.
This research indicates that those people with poor or damaged intestinal probiotic populations are more likely to become ill upon eating contaminated foods.
Learn more about using probiotics to fight off infections:
Centers for Disease Control. Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga Infections Associated with a Raw Scraped Ground Tuna Product. 2012. April 26.
Adams C. Probiotics – Protection Against Infection. Logical Books, 2016.
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.