Seafood in Kansas sucks, but why is seafood being imported into Hawaii?

I will never buy mussels in Kansas again.

I know, why would anyone buy seafood in the geographic center of the U.S., where the mussels are flown in from Canada, but they’re delicious.

Except the stench from the ones I bought Tuesday still has not left the house. Nasty, nasty stuff.

But why are people in Hawaii importing seafood? Kansas, sure, but Hawaii?

The Hawaii state Department of Health said today it has confirmed 10 cases of salmonella infection on Oahu related to eating previously frozen internationally imported raw ahi.

The people who became ill with Salmonella Paratyphi B reported eating raw ahi, often prepared as poke, that was purchased or served at various locations on Oahu.

The DOH said that as of April 12 there were 13 other confirmed cases of Salmonella Paratyphi B in five other states — California (7), Maryland (2), Pennsylvania (2), Massachusetts (1) and New York (1). The DOH said it is working with the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if these cases also involved raw ahi.

The DOH said it also has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to open an investigation of international sources of frozen raw ahi.

Outbreak of salmonella leads to recall of ahi

Choyce Products of Hawaii voluntarily recalled 11,000 pounds of previously frozen yellowfin tuna yesterday that tested positive for salmonella.

The Hawaii Star-Bulletin reports that the state Department of Health has been investigating an outbreak of a rare strain of salmonella, Paratyphi B, confirmed in 33 cases since October but seen in only three cases last month.

The Health Department believes the illnesses are related to previously frozen ahi which was imported to Hawaii and eaten raw.

It is not yet clear if the salmonella strain found at Choyce’s is the Paratyphi B strain.

Edmund Choy, owner of Choyce Products, said,

"Our main concern is safety. We immediately issued a voluntary recall on that shipment and confirmed that our customers do not have any ahi from that parcel in our inventory."

Choyce is one of about 40 seafood distributors on Oahu.

Uncommon salmonella traced back to raw ahi

Hawaiian state health investigators have identified a relatively rare type of salmonella poisoning on Oahu that they linked to similar cases on the mainland through "fingerprints" of the bacteria’s DNA.

Dr. Paul Effler, state epidemiologist, said illnesses are believed due to raw ahi imported and distributed to Hawaii and other places, and that in Hawaii, it looks as though people became ill after eating raw ahi mostly in poke but also sashimi. A sushi restaurant was involved in some mainland cases, he said.

Janice Okubo, state Health Department spokeswoman, was cited as saying about 30 cases have been confirmed on Oahu since October, and that five people were hospitalized but have been released, adding, "They have all recovered or are recovering."

The unusual culprit is known as salmonella Paratyphi B. Okubo said usually, only about 10 cases of Paratyphi B occur annually.