Histamine risk, batches of tuna fillet recalled in supermarkets

The Ministry of Health has announced the withdrawal from the market of Oltremare brand tuna fillet, frozen striata variant, due to exceeding the permitted regulatory limits of histamine. Two affected lots have been identified. Instructions are provided on what to do if you have purchased such products and the potential risks of consuming the product in question are discussed.

The lots affected

On January 2, 2024, the Ministry of Health ordered the recall of two batches of tuna fillet, declared to be at chemical risk due to exceeding the permitted regulatory limits of histamine.

Available information indicates that the responsible factory is marked with the 514 (India) brand, and the product was distributed by Effegi Service Spa, a company based in the province of Mantua, which uses the Oltremare brand.

The lots affected are the following:

  • Establishment Number: 514, Lot: 3H05
  • Establishment Number: 514, Lot: 3H06

The minimum shelf life of these products is established until August 2025, indicating a deadline beyond which the quality and safety of the product is not guaranteed. If you have purchased an item belonging to one of the specified lots, health authorities strongly recommend that you refrain from consuming its contents. This precaution is essential to avoid possible health risks associated with the presence of histamine above the permitted regulatory limits.

To ensure your safety, it is strongly recommended immediately return the product to the point of sale where it was originally purchased. In compliance with current health regulations, we invite you to request a replacement of the product or, if you prefer, a full refund of the amount paid. Your health is the top priority, and acting promptly in accordance with this guidance will help maintain the overall well-being of the community and ensure the correct enforcement of food safety regulations.

What is histamine and its health risks

There scombroid syndrome, or histamine intoxication, is a disorder caused by the decomposition of the amino acid histidine, present in fish species such as tuna, mackerel, sardines, sardines and anchovies, from which the name of the pathology derives. This spoilage process and histamine production can occur at any stage of the food supply chain.

Poisoning occurs when fish is stored at inappropriate temperatures, above 4 degrees, favoring bacterial growth and histamine production. This enzyme, present in some bacterial species in the intestine or skin of fish, triggers scombroid syndrome.

It is important to note that food spoilage is not perceptible as histamine is odorless and tasteless. If ingested in large quantities, however, it can cause an allergic reaction, manifesting as food poisoning.

Histamine is naturally present in the human body and plays a role in regulating the immune system; however, when it is released in large quantities due to the consumption of spoiled foods, it can cause diverse symptoms. The amount of histamine needed to cause effects varies from person to person, influenced by factors such as individual sensitivity, body weight, composition of the meal, medications taken and pathologies.

Symptoms of scombroid syndrome can appear within minutes to a few hours after eating the contaminated food and include:

  • Common skin manifestations: skin rash, urticaria, facial edema, itching.
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms: diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, burning, swelling of the mouth and tongue.
  • Hemodynamic symptoms: hypotension, dizziness.
  • Neurological symptoms: headache, palpitations, tingling, vision disturbances, tremors, weakness, feeling of heat.

In case of suspected histamine poisoning, it is advisable to seek medical attention immediately and avoid consuming suspect foods.