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Histamines in Unrefrigerated Fish Cause Scombroid Poisoning

Posted on in Food Poisoning

Histamines in Unrefrigerated Fish Cause Scombroid PoisoningAlfa International Seafood recently recalled its yellowfin tuna steaks that were available in Kroger stores in 16 states, including Illinois. Five cases of scombroid fish poisoning were connected to the steaks, which were sold from Aug. 20 to Sept. 7. Scombroid poisoning is a form of food poisoning that people can contract from eating fish that was not properly refrigerated. A restaurant or food company that sells you tainted fish may be liable for medical expenses or lost income related to your illness.

What Is Scombroid Poisoning?

People receive scombroid poisoning primarily from eating fish that have elevated levels of histamines. Scombroid poisoning has many of the familiar symptoms of food poisoning, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. However, the histamines may cause symptoms that are similar to an allergic reaction, such as:

  • Fever;
  • Hives;
  • Itching; and
  • A burning sensation in the mouth.

Most cases of scombroid poisoning subside on their own after a few hours. For severe cases, physicians may prescribe anti-histamines or recommend induced vomiting to remove the poison from the digestive system. The most severe reactions to scombroid poisoning are a racing heart, drop in blood pressure and trouble breathing.

What Causes Scombroid Poisoning?

Bacteria can grow in fish that are left unrefrigerated after they are caught, which breaks down the fish and releases histamines. It can take as little as six hours for the bacteria to develop in fish that have not been refrigerated at a temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Once the fish has become spoiled, you cannot remove the histamines through freezing or cooking. You may be able to identify fish with unsafe levels of histamines by their bad odor, unusual appearance or peppery taste. However, a fish may be contaminated even if it does not show any of these signs.

Contact a Chicago Food Poisoning Attorney

People who catch and eat their own fish can prevent scombroid fish poisoning by making sure that they refrigerate the fish shortly after it is caught. If you believe the fish was left unrefrigerated for several hours, it may be safer to throw it out. However, you cannot control whether a restaurant or food company was negligent in preserving its fish and may be unable to tell if they have sold or served you an unsafe fish. An Illinois food poisoning lawyer at Newland & Newland, LLP, can help you identify the source of your food poisoning and hold the negligent party responsible. To schedule a consultation, call 847-840-8950.


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