Several people who ate the products developed symptoms of “scombroid fish poisoning.”
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.
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