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Seaweed farm linked to Salmonella outbreak recalls products

Monday, November 14, 2016 23:25
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Four days after the Hawaii Department of Health reported it ordered a farm to cease and desist distribution of its seaweed because of links to an ongoing Salmonella outbreak, the company posted a recall notice.

Marine Agrifuture LLC of Kahuku, HI, is recalling its “Kahuku Ogo,” “Robusta Ogo” and “Kahuku Sea Asparagus” from distributors and other direct customers in Hawaii, California, Washington and Nevada. The products were also sold at farmers markets in Hawaii, as well as being exported to Tokyo, according to the recall notice on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.

As of Nov.  8, 14 people had been confirmed with Salmonella infections, with four of them having symptoms so severe that they required hospitalization. The sick people include adults and children who developed diarrheal illnesses from mid- to late October.

Preliminary investigations identified consumption of raw fish, specifically poke that contained limo — seaweed — as a common factor among the sick people.

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention and alert their doctor to the possible Salmonella exposure. Symptoms typically begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria, according to the Hawaii health department.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea that can be bloody, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.

State officials inspected the Marine Agrifuture farm on Nov. 2 and 7, according to a news release Thursday that detailed the cease and desist order.

“During the investigation, testing was conducted on environmental, processing area, and ogo samples. Laboratory tests identified Salmonella bacteria in the packing and processing tanks and in the farm environment,” the health department reported.

Consumers, distributors, retailers and others can identify the recalled products by the following information:

“The Ogo products come in a plastic bag of various weights from 0.5 LB to 35 LB, which were sold from November 2, 2016 and prior, and the Sea Asparagus in 4 Ounce, 1 LB clear plastic clamshell or in a 5 LB of plastic bag marked with a tracking number stamped on the lids or bags, which were sold from November 8, 2016 and prior. The corresponding UPC number for 4 OZ, 1 LB, and 5 LB of sea asparagus are 897680001010, 897680001027, and 897680001041 respectively.”

Anyone who has the recalled products is urged to dispose of them or return them to the place of purchase for a refund or credit. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 808-779-2885.

For additional details on the situation, please see:
Hawaii names farm linked to outbreak; recall details sketchy

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