Entries in Sushi (2)


Fukushima Radiation in Your Sushi?

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Those looking for evidence of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan may need search no further than their next plate of sushi, Stanford University researchers report.

The researchers tested 15 Pacific bluefin tuna that had migrated from Japan to the California coast and found that the levels of radioactive cesium in these fish were 10 times higher than those found in bluefin tuna from the years before the disaster.

Before you swear off your maguro nigiri, it’s important to realize that the levels of radiation the researchers found from the cesium in the tuna were exceedingly low — about 30 times less than the amount of radiation given off by other common, naturally occurring elements in the tuna we eat.

The findings appeared Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The finding should be reassuring to the public,” said Timothy J. Jorgensen, associate professor of radiation medicine at Georgetown University, who was not involved with the study. “As anticipated, the tuna contained only trace levels of radioactivity that originated from Japan. These levels amounted to only a small fraction of the naturally occurring radioactivity in the tuna, and were much too small to have any impact on public health."

“Thus, there is no human health threat posed by consuming migratory tuna caught off the west coast of the United States,” he added.

Still, the fact that the researchers could trace this radioactive material back to its source in Japan could have implications for seafood monitoring methods in the future. Dr. Michael Harbut, director of the Environmental Cancer Program at Wayne State University’s Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, agreed that the findings are no cause for panic. But he said that the finding that tuna and migratory food animals could carry this radioactive material so far across the ocean deserves consideration.

“In general, when you hear the word ‘radiation’ at all, it’s cause for some alarm, and I agree always a cause for significant attention.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nearly 100 Sickened by Salmonella Outbreak

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- An outbreak of salmonella poisoning has so far made 93 people ill in 19 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An internal memo sent to staff at the Food and Drug Administration indicated that spicy tuna rolls could be a cause for the sicknesses.

The memo also characterized the outbreak as “rapid and expanding in a number of cases.”

Ten of those who became ill have been hospitalized, but so far, there are no deaths.

While health officials have not definitely identified sushi as the source of the outbreak, they have identified the strain of bacteria as Salmonella Bareilly, one of the less common types of salmonella.  Salmonella poisoning is more often caused by the Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis.

Salmonella was also the culprit in an October illness outbreak that affected dozens of people who ate at certain Taco Bell restaurants in 10 different states.  It was also linked to an outbreak that led to the recall of hundreds of millions of eggs produced at an Iowa farm in the summer of 2010.

“Salmonella is one of the most common pathogens you can get from eating raw or poorly cooked foods,” said Dr. Thomas Hooton, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.

E. coli and campylobacter are also often linked to undercooked foods.

Salmonella poisoning can range in severity from being completely asymptomatic to being severe enough to require hospitalization.  Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain that appear within 8 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food.

“Salmonella poisoning is typically self-limiting and we don’t normally treat it unless it’s severe,” said Hooton.  “But infants, the elderly, pregnant women and the immunocompromised are more at risk for serious illness, so we are very concerned about these groups.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio