May 29, 2009: U.S. Foodservices, Scombroid Toxin, Anchovies & Evoo = Food Poisoning

Monarch Food Group's canned anchovies and scombroid poisoning have been identified as the culprit that caused at least 17 people to become ill while dining at Evoo Restaurant, Raleigh, North Carolina, on April 17. ....

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The illnesses came on quickly, with restaurant patrons experiencing many of the common symptoms of scombroid poisoning including reddening of skin (usually face and body), sweating, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, flushing, hive, itching, and in severe cases difficulty breathing.  Multiple EMT units were summoned to the restaurant to assist the sickened diners, who were still eating their meals when the symptoms struck. 

The canned anchovies (used in Cesar salad), were manufactured by Monarch Food Group, a division of food giant U.S. Foodservices.  The anchovies were implicated after FDA testing revealed toxic levels of histamine in Monarch’s canned anchovies. Increased levels of histamine in fish occur as the fish muscle tissue begins to decompose; and it is histamine, that causes the allergic-like symptoms in scombroid poisoning victims. 

According to Andre Pierce, Wake County environmental health and safety director, testing revealed that the anchovies’ histamine levels were 48 to 79 parts per million (ppm). The FDA considers levels of more than 50 ppm unsafe for consumption. 

Pierce also revealed that while not all of those sickened had consumed Cesar salad, the same cutting board was used to prepare the anchovies and salad greens, which may have resulted in cross contamination of other salads on the Evoo menu. 

The following recall information can be found (albeit with great difficulty) on the Monarch/U.S. Foodservice website.  It does not appear to be listed on the FDA and USDA Recall website, where posting it could prove helpful to businesses and the public. 

Testing by the FDA and by an independent laboratory on behalf of U.S. Foodservice has revealed a high level of histamines in International Green Anchovy Fillets packed in Olive Oil. The level is high enough to cause an allergic reaction in histamine-sensitive individuals. Therefore the importer has decided to issue a CLASS I Recall effective immediately. 

The Law Firm of Eric H. Weinberg represents victims of food poisoning outbreaks nationwide.  We are ready to help you. If you are the victim of a food poisoning outbreak and have a question regarding your legal rights, please submit a Free Legal Case Evaluation, or call us toll free at 1-877-934-6274.  

To learn about recent food and drug recalls, please see Hydroxycut Recall Lawyer, Ground Beef Recall Lawyer,  Listeria Recall Lawyer.

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