As of September 27, 2018, a total of 26 laboratory-confirmed cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection were reported in people who ate fresh crab meat from Venezuela; the cases were reported by seven states and the District of Columbia. The U.S. FDA worked with federal, state, and local officials on the outbreak. This crab meat was labeled as “fresh” or “pre-cooked” and is a ready-to-eat product.
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This outbreak investigation has ended. Processors and distributors should know that the FDA’s Bacterial Analytical Manual states that “A heat-processed product should not contain viable V. parahaemolyticus and if so, would indicate a significant problem in manufacturing practices or post-process contamination.” FDA has additional information for processors and distributors in the new section, “What should processors and distributors know?”
The FDA collaborated with state partners in conducting a traceback investigation. This investigation identified multiple Venezuelan processors that supplied multiple brands of crab meat during the outbreak. FDA’s traceback did not identify a single firm as the source of the outbreak.
As a result of the outbreak investigation, the FDA increased testing of fresh crab meat from Venezuela. The FDA did not identify Vibrio parahaemolyticus in any samples tested, but the FDA did identify Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in some crab meat samples collected at import. The affected products did not enter into U.S. commerce.
Consumers and restaurants may want to consider using pasteurized crab meat or fully recooking (bringing to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit) fresh crab meat, particularly for items that will be served cold.