SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The recent death of a South Bend man after he ate shrimp containing bacteria was a "rare and isolated incident" and there is no ongoing threat to the public, a northern Indiana health official said.
WSBT-TV reports that St. Joseph County Health Department officials said the man had been suffering from another illness and the shrimp he ate may not have been prepared correctly.
"With proper cooking and a healthy individual this probably wouldn't have happened," County health officer Dr. Thomas Felger said Wednesday.
Felger said the man, who died in late February, was battling another type of illness that weakened his immune system and made him more susceptible to bacteria found in the shrimp that's often present in seafood.
"A lot of people might have this but not know it," he told WSBT-TV. "They might call it the flu. But then you have somebody who is ill with other illnesses, it'll just be that much more of a risk for them."
Memorial Hospital in South Bend alerted the county health department Feb. 17 that it had a patient battling a type of bacteria that's found naturally in many types of seafood, including shrimp.
Health officials interviewed the man's wife and determined that he had eaten shrimp from a 16-ounce bag of frozen, raw, peeled and cleaned shrimp sold under the Harvest of the Sea brand. Testing on a second bag of the same brand of shrimp found in the man's freezer determined that it contained the bacteria afflicting the man.
Felger said that bag of shrimp came from a Martin's Super Markets store in South Bend. The supermarket chain voluntarily pulled the shrimp from its freezers in during the weekend of Feb. 17-18 after learning that it could possibly be contaminated. But the store didn't issue a voluntary recall to customers until March 3 because they didn't have all of the information they needed until then, the company's advertising manager, Dave Mayfield, told WSBT.
He said that once they got the facts, they issued the recall.
Test results confirming the bacteria were in the shrimp were received last Friday, and the next day Martin's Supermarket emailed its recall notice to South Bend-area media.
Felger said he believes Martin's Super Markets acted appropriately by pulling the product once they were notified.
Steven Fink, a spokesman for Harvest of the Sea, told WSBT-TV the company sells the shrimp that was recalled only to Martin's Supermarket stores.