BFAR 7 suspends operations of Lapu-Lapu scallops exporter after reports of Hepatitis A contamination in Hawaii

CEBU CITY — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) 7 has suspended the operations of a Lapu-Lapu City-based seafood exporter after some of their products were linked to a hepatitis outbreak in Hawaii last month.

Andres Bojos, BFAR 7 director, said they had also initiated an investigation on the operations of the company, which includes a thorough “contract tracing” of their products.

The company had exported frozen raw scallops that may have given more than 200 diners in Hawaii the hepatitis A pathogen.

Bojos said their 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.

They will also inspect the company’s operations, including subjecting their personnel to a health test.

“We will also inspect even the water they’re using,” Bojos said.

Bojos also assured the company’s products are not being sold locally.

A statement issued by the Disease Outbreak and Control Division of the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health said the outbreak of hepatitis A in Oahu and Kauai was traced to raw scallops being served in a popular sushi restaurant chain.

As of Sept. 7, around 252 people have been infected with hepatitis A after eating raw scallops. PNA/northboundasia.com