Foodborne Illness Outbreak Database

This database provides summaries of significant food and water related outbreaks occurring since 1984 caused by E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter and other pathogens. Read more »

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Alabama and Tennessee Pacific Amberjack Fish 1985

Three restaurants in Alabama and Tennessee received complaints of illness from nine customers and one employee who ate Pacific amberjack fish (also called yellowtail or kahala). Illness symptoms were consistent with Scombroid Fish Poisoning. Some received antihistamines as treatment and recovered quickly. A restaurant cook, who did not eat the fish, reported a transient, red, rash on the hands shortly after handling the fish. Ill persons reported no other menu items in common. The fish meals were prepared by grilling or frying. None of the restaurants reported using food preservatives or monosodium glutamate (MSG) on the fish. The fish was harvested from southern California, and sold to a Florida seafood company in November, 1985. The Florida seafood company sold 120 pounds of the fish to a distributor who in turn sold it to restaurants in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee, in late December. After receiving complaints from three restaurants, the distributor notified all recipient restaurants and collected 20 pounds of amberjack. Analysis of the leftover fish showed markedly elevated levels of histamine. The remaining fish was destroyed under FDA supervision.

  • Outbreak began:
  • December 1985
  • Affected Country:
  • US
  • Affected States/Territories:
  • Alabama
  • Organism(s):
  • Toxin
  • Vehicle(s):
  • Seafood, Finfish, Pacific Amberjack Fish, Yellowtail, Kahala
  • Molecular Results Available:
  • Unknown
  • Test Results:
  • None
  • Location(s):
  • Brand Name(s):
  • Product Subject to Recall:
  • No
  • Total ill:
  • 10
  • Number ill by Case Definition Known:
  • Unknown
  • Number Laboratory Confirmed Cases:
  • N/A
  • Number Probable Cases:
  • N/A
  • Number Possible Cases:
  • N/A
  • Anyone Hospitalized:
  • Unknown
  • Number Hospitalized:
  • Unknown
  • Any Deaths:
  • Unknown
  • Number Dead:
  • Unknown
  • Any References:
  • Yes

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