July 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning over Venezuelan crab meat potentially contaminated with a bacteria likely to cause stomach illness.
The FDA warning said the crab meat may be contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bacteria that causes diarrhea, vomiting and fever in most people infected.
Twelve people have been sickened by the crab meat including four who have been hospitalized, officials said. The outbreak has impacted eight people in Maryland, two in Louisiana, one in Pennsylvania and one Washington, D.C.
The FDA said consumers should avoid eating the affected product even though it may look, smell and taste normal. Symptoms usually develop within 24 hours.
The product is usually found in plastic tubs and may be labeled as "pre-cooked," officials said.
Consumers are advised to ask where their crab meat is coming from if dining out at a restaurant or in grocery stores. In addition to its warning, the FDA also urged retailers to throw out the affected crab meat and take sanitary precautions to avoid cross contamination.