Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tainted tuna at Vancouver International Airport sends seven to hospital

Seven people who got food poisoning from eating tuna at a Subway restaurant at the Vancouver International Airport were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

The majority of those who fell ill on Friday afternoon were airport employees, while one patient was a traveller, said Justin Karasick, a spokesman for Coastal Health. They all ate at the same Subway in the international terminal on the secured side of the airport.

The patients are suspected of contracting scombroid poisoning, which "occurs due to high levels of histamine in raw or undercooked fish. That's usually because the fish hasn't been stored at the right temperature," he explained.

Symptoms, which appear quickly after eating the fish, include flushing, sweating, headaches, and sometimes nausea and vomiting.

"The good news is that the symptoms usually resolve on their own," said Karasick.

They were all taken to the Richmond Hospital as part of the airport's protocol. Six were released quickly, while a seventh who complained of nausea remained on an IV.

The tuna fish was removed from the menu at all three Subway locations at the airport.

Coastal Health has started an investigation but it's too early to say if there will be any charges or penalties against Subway.

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