Fact Check

RECALL: Frozen Shrimp Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

Products were distributed across the U.S. from late December 2020 to late February 2021.

Published June 28, 2021

Frozen prawns in a circle, close-up (Blanchi Costela/Getty Images)
Frozen prawns in a circle, close-up (Image courtesy of Blanchi Costela/Getty Images)
Nine frozen shrimp products were recalled due to concerns over possible Salmonella contamination.

In late-June 2021, Avanti Frozen Seafood issued a voluntary recall for various packaged shrimp products due to potential contamination with the food-borne illness Salmonella.

Out of an “abundance of caution,” a seafood production company issued a voluntary recall on June 25, 2021, for various packaged shrimp products due to potential contamination with the food-borne illness salmonella.

Avanti Frozen Foods Pvt. Ltd recalled nine different frozen shrimp products distributed across the U.S. from late December 2020 to late February 2021 sold under the brand names Censea, Hannaford, Open Acres, Waterfront Bistro, Honest Catch, COS, 365 and Meijer:

Image courtesy of the FDA.

Six people between the ages of 30 and 80 years old had been reported ill in Nevada and Arizona as of June 24, 2021, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Illnesses started on dates ranging from Feb. 26 to April 25, according to investigation details published online by public health and regulatory officials. Two people were hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.

“The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak,” wrote the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Salmonella was found in a sample of Avanti Frozen Foods shrimp that was collected as part of the FDA’s Imported Seafood Compliance Program, which requires that certain harvested and imported foods be tested for contaminants like salmonella, parasites, biotoxins and other potentially health-harming additives. Officials used the federal tracking system PulseNet to trace purchase records and reports of illnesses to determine that a common shipment from Avanti Frozen Seafoods was likely responsible. That shipment was destroyed in March 2021, but the seafood company recalled additional lots as they may also be contaminated with the bacteria. Recalled products included various unit sizes of frozen, cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp, some of which came with cocktail sauce.

“Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain,” wrote the company in an announcement posted by the federal regulatory agency.

“In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.”

Symptoms of salmonella usually start six hours to six days after swallowing the bacteria. While most people recover without treatment within a week, some people — particularly young children, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems — may experience a severe illness that requires hospitalization.

The CDC recommends that consumers throw away or return affected products to the place where they were bought and wash items and surfaces that might have come into contact with the recalled shrimp.

Madison Dapcevich is a freelance contributor for Snopes.