The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an Import Alert over hepatitis A found in raw, frozen tuna from Sustainable Seafood Co. Ltd. in Can Lam, Vietnam, and P.T. Deho Canning Company in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

“FDA believes that hepatitis A virus-contaminated seafood is a result of insanitary conditions in the production or packing facilities, e.g., poor worker hygiene, inadequate worker sanitation facilities, and/or contaminated water supply,” FDA said in the alert.

The FDA found hepatitis A virus in frozen raw tuna samples from the two suppliers in May 2017, but is issuing the Import Alert now “to address seafood products being introduced for entry based on two recent outbreaks,” Jason Stratchman-Miller, a spokesperson for FDA, told SeafoodSource.

In May, Hilo Fish Company in Hawaii recalled tuna sourced from Sustainable Seafood Company and Santa Cruz Seafood, Inc. that tested positive for the hepatitis A virus. The tuna had been distributed to several U.S. grocery stores.

“The current recall resulted from follow-up after the Hawaii Department of Health notified the FDA of a frozen tuna sample, sourced from PT Deho Canning Co., which tested positive for hepatitis A on 1 May, 2017,” FDA said in a statement in May.

In the new Import Alert, FDA explained that hepatitis A virus is excreted in feces of infected people “and can produce clinical disease when susceptible individuals consume contaminated water or foods.” 

As a result of the alert, FDA “may detain, without physical examination, shipments of fresh or frozen raw seafood” from Sustainable Seafood Co. and P.T. Deho Canning Company, the regulator said.

“Hepatitis A virus is primarily transmitted by person-to-person contact through fecal contamination, but common-source epidemics from contaminated food and water also occur,” FDA said in the alert. “Poor sanitation and crowding facilitate transmission. Contamination of foods by infected workers in food production facilities/processing plants and restaurants is common.”