Philippines suspends distribution of scallops suspected of causing hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii

  • Distribution of frozen scallops from the Philippines was temporarily suspended
  • Hawaii’s Department of Health said scallops from the Philippines may have caused a hepatitis outbreak in Hawaii
  • The Philippines’ BFAR ordered the personnel of a local company that produces the frozen scallops to undergo medical tests, but all of them tested negative for hepatitis A

The Philippine government suspended the distribution of scallops suspected of being the cause of a hepatitis A virus outbreak in Hawaii.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources under the Department of Agriculture has ordered De Oro Resources, Inc., the company that produced the frozen Sea Port Bay Scallops, to temporarily suspend the distribution of its existing inventory of fishery products and to recall all previously distributed products belonging to the same batch while the government conducts a traceability audit.

Personnel of the company were ordered to undergo medical tests.

“We required the operator to subject all their personnel involved in the supply chain from those who shuck the meat of scallops in Masbate to their people in their plant here in Cebu to medical tests, but all of them tested negative for Hepatitis A,” Andres Bojos, director of the agriculture bureau in the Central Visayas region, said.

He added those who were tested include around 100 personnel of De Oro in its plant in central Cebu province and 29 people who work in De Oro’s pre-processing plant in Masbate in the eastern Philippines, where the company gets some of its scallops.

Bojos noted that out of 9 outlets of a restaurant chain in Hawaii that get their supply in the Philippines, only two have been identified as having the hepatitis A-tainted scallops. He raised the possibility that the contamination took place during the handing of the food in Hawaii.

According to a Fox News article last month, Hawaii’s Health Department identified the frozen scallops produced by De Oro Resources, Inc. as the probable cause of the hepatitis A virus outbreak in Hawaii. At least 205 cases of the disease were confirmed. The virus can cause fever, loss of appetite, nausea and other ailments.

The Hawaii Health Department ordered an embargo on the product, meaning businesses are not allowed to sell them and consumers are advised not to eat them.