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  • Cases: 3
  • Hospitalizations: 0
  • Deaths: 0
  • Status: Investigation is complete
  • Locations: All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar, Loews Hotel 1000, 1001 1st Ave, Seattle, WA
  • Meal dates: November 4, 2019
  • Prior food safety inspections and current rating?


Updated January 13, 2020


Public Health investigated an outbreak of probable scombroid poisoning with nausea, diarrhea, and flushed face associated with All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar in the Loews Hotel 1000 in Seattle.


Since November 4, 2019, 3 people from one meal party reported becoming ill after eating cooked tuna from All Water Seafood & Oyster Bar on November 4, 2019.

Public Health actions

Environmental Health investigators visited the restaurant on November 6, 2019. Investigators did not find any food safety concerns at the restaurant related to preparation or refrigeration of tuna. No tuna from the same batch that was served to the ill meal party remained at the time of the investigation. The restaurant voluntarily discarded all prepared tuna.

We reported this outbreak to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the source of the tuna to make sure appropriate storage and handling of tuna was happening before distribution to restaurants and other food establishments.

Laboratory testing

There are no laboratory tests to diagnose scombroid in people. Testing can be done on food, however samples of the tuna were not available. Symptoms experienced by the ill people are suggestive of scombroid.

Report possible foodborne illness

About scrombroid

  • Scombroid poisoning is caused by eating certain fish that have not been kept properly refrigerated at temperatures below 41° F at any time after capture.

  • Fish typically associated with scombroid include tuna, mackerel, mahi mahi, sardines, anchovies, herring, bluefish, amberjack, and marlin. These fish naturally have high levels of histidine in their flesh.

  • When these types of fish are not kept at the right temperature, certain bacteria can grow and change the naturally-occurring histidine to histamine. When people eat the fish, the histamine can cause symptoms similar to a moderate or severe allergic reaction.

  • Symptoms include flushing of the face (resembling a sunburn), headache, heart palpitations, itching, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and in severe cases, low blood pressure.

  • Symptoms usually begin within a few minutes to an hour after eating the fish and last 12 to 48 hours.

  • Consult with a healthcare provider or seek medical care if you are experiencing symptoms. Symptoms can usually be treated with antihistamines.


General advice for reducing risk of contracting scombroid:

  • Fish contaminated with histamine may have a peppery, sharp, salty taste or "bubbly" feel but will usually look, smell, and taste normal.

  • Store all fish at or below 41° F.

  • For recreational fishing: fish should be iced, refrigerated, or frozen immediately after being caught.

  • Histamine that builds up in the fish is not destroyed by cooking, freezing, smoking, or canning. When in doubt, throw it out.

More information about norovirus:

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