The Quinault Indian Nation issued a voluntary recall for tribe-caught Dungeness crab earlier this month, which applied to “only live and whole cooked crabs sold by non-affiliated wholesale buyers of Quinault Indian Nation crabs” that were potentially unsafe to eat.
The tribe’s statement came in the wake of a KIRO 7 News story Jan. 1 that reported nearly 29 tons of Dungeness crab was being voluntarily recalled “due to possible elevated marine toxin levels.”
According to a statement issued by the tribe, “Crabs from the Dec. 23-28 catch sold by Quinault Pride Seafood had been eviscerated (gutted), cooked and frozen in sections and are safe to eat because concentrations of domoic acid in the meat are well below actionable levels for a recall. Quinault Pride Seafood, a wholly owned enterprise of the Quinault Indian Nation, was not part of the recall.”
It was only live or whole cooked crab that were part of the recall, said the tribe. The tribe said crab products sold by Quinault Pride Seafood during that time frame are safe to eat.
Results from crab tested for domoic acid prior to the opening of the Quinault crab fishery indicated that live and whole crab were safe for harvest. According to the Quinault statement, the first day of the Quinault fishery, Dec. 23, crab samples were submitted for testing, but results did not become available until after the Christmas holiday.
“One crab was found to be over the established ‘action level’ for domoic acid in the viscera (gut or “butter”),” read the statement. “Before this result became available, 57,891 pounds of whole crab had already been sold and distributed to live or whole markets.”
When the Quinault Indian Nation learned of this test result, “it acted out of an abundance of caution and issued a recall notice and worked with the Federal Food and Drug Administration and Washington Departments of Health and Agriculture to track the crab that had already been delivered whole to the cooked and live markets,” read the statement.
“Consumer safety is of utmost importance, so we acted quickly and decisively,” said Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Indian Nation. “It’s important for the public to know that meat from crab that have been eviscerated and cooked into sections is safe for human consumption.”