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It's a Good Week to Skip the Spicy Tuna Roll

More than 140 people in 20 states have been stricken with salmonella traced to yellowfin tuna meat scraped from bones and organs. One person in Florida has been sick, with the bulk of illnesses clustered in New York (28), Maryland (14), Wisconsin (14), and Illinois (13).

The Centers for Disease Control point to raw tuna as the source of infection from January 28 through April 1, with 80 percent of those who had fallen ill reporting eating sushi.

The "likely source" is the California-based Moon Marine USA

Corp. -- also known as MMI -- that has voluntarily recalled more than 60,000 pounds of a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product labeled as Nakaochi

Scrape AA or AAA.

This outbreak and its source raises two major questions. If this frozen yellowfin is repackaged and resold as reported, how long will this wave of illness continue?

And second, is Moon Marine USA one of the companies owned by self-proclaimed messiah Rev. Sun Myung Moon or one of his followers?

Once referred to disparagingly as "Moonies," his followers are part of the 7 million member congregation of the controversial Unification Church that was founded in the mid-'50s.

In "Sushi and Rev. Moon" in the Chicago Tribune,

staffers reported on the wide reach of the church in the sushi

industry: "Adhering to a plan Moon spelled out more than three decades

ago in a

series of sermons, members of his movement managed to integrate

virtually every facet of the highly competitive seafood industry."

The church's seafood operation is run under the umbrella known as True World Group that "builds fleets of boats, runs dozens of distribution centers and, each

day, supplies most of the nation's estimated 9,000 sushi restaurants."

We have calls in to MMI and True World Group for specifics. In the meantime, that article from the Tribune is worth a full read.

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Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart

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