The Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 7 (BFAR 7) has suspended the operations of a Cebu-based seafood exporter after scallops were linked to a hepatitis outbreak in Hawaii. BFAR 7 initiated an investigation on the operations of the company, which includes a thorough “contract tracing” of their products. The company, which is based in Lapu-Lapu City, exported frozen raw scallops that as of September 7, has infected 252 people.
According to BFAR 7:
In view of these emerging threats to seafood safety which pose serious risks to human health, BFAR as the food safety regulatory agency of fish and fishery products vested with authority by the Food Safety Act of 2013, is now implementing emergency measures, re-assessing, re-evaluating, and conducting traceability audit of De Oro Resources, Inc., the reported Philippine exporter of frozen raw scallops based in Lapu-Lapu City. Pending the on-going traceability audit, BFAR is temporarily suspending the accreditation of De Oro Resources, Inc. to export fishery products. BFAR has likewise directed the De Oro Resources, Inc. to suspend the distribution of its existing inventory of fishery products and to recall all previously distributed products belonging to the same batch or of the same distribution period.
The BFAR 7 investigation will include inspecting the company’s scallop farm in Masbate and collecting samples there to determine if the products were already tainted with hepatitis A before these were shipped to their suppliers. BFAR 7 will also inspect the company’s operations, including subjecting their personnel to a health test.