By Rick Schmitt, FairWarning
In April 2012, a team of inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigated a seafood company in southern India that had been exporting tons of frozen yellow fin tuna to the United States. What they found was not appetizing: water tanks rife with microbiological contamination, rusty carving knives, peeling paint above the work area, unsanitary bathrooms and an ice machine covered with insects and “apparent bird feces,” according to the report.
The FDA issued an “import alert” that barred Moon Fishery India Pvt. Ltd. from shipping fish to the United States. But the damage to public health had been done. By the time FDA got around to inspecting the plant, a salmonella outbreak was erupting around the country. Ultimately, 425 people in 28 states and the District of Columbia were sickened, with victims ranging from babies to octogenarians. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 55 people were hospitalized.