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Distribution of scallops suspended

The government has suspended distribution of seafood believed to be the cause of a hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii.

De Oro Resources, Inc. must temporarily suspend distribution of its products while the government does an audit, according to an order by the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

Hawaii’s Department of Health last month identified frozen scallops served raw at a sushi chain as the probable cause. The scallops are produced by De Oro Resources.

Andres Bojos, Central Visayas regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said officials required the company to test workers, including those who shuck scallops and those who work in their plant. All of them tested negative for hepatitis A, he said.

The Hawaii outbreak has sickened more than 250 people.

Bojos said Tuesday that De Oro Resources remains suspended pending completion of the audit they are doing. Aside from scallops, De Oro also exports shrimp.

“We required the operator to subject all their personnel involved in the supply chain from those who shuck the meat of scallops in Masbate to their people in their plant here in Cebu to medical tests, but all of them tested negative for Hepatitis A,” Bojos said. (AP)