FDA Issues Botulism Warning For Eviscerated Fish

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) just issued a botulism warning for eviscerated fish produced by Seng Ong Wholesale, Inc., of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Seng Ong Wholesale is recalling dried mackerel and dried round scad after Minnesota Department of Agriculture Laboratory personnel confirmed that the mackerel and dried round scad was not properly eviscerated before processing because of the presence of gills.

The recalled fish may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause botulism.

The sale of improperly eviscerated fish, five inches in length or greater, is prohibited because Clostridium botulinum spores are likelier to be concentrated in the viscera of the fish than in any other area of the fish. Uneviscerated fish has been linked to outbreaks of botulism poisoning, which may pose a potentially life-threatening health hazard.

The following products are involved in the recall:

  • • Pacific Isles Hasa Hasa Dried Mackerel: 48-ounce cardboard cases with lot numbers 3298 and 0760; a product of the Philippines. This product was sold in Minnesota.
  • • Pacific Isles Galunggong Dried Round Scad: 48-ounce cardboard cases with lot numbers 3228 and 3168; a product of the Philippines. This product was sold in Minnesota and South Dakota.

No illnesses have been reported, to date, in connection with this problem; however, it can take some time from ingestion of a contaminated food product until symptoms being to manifest.
The symptoms of botulism poising include drooping eyelids, slurred speech and trouble with speaking or swallowing, and dry mouth. Difficulty in breathing; weakness of other muscles, for instance, muscle weakness that starts at the shoulders and moves progressively down the body’s abdominal distension, and constipation may also be common symptoms.

Infants with botulism appear lethargic, feed poorly, are constipated, and have a weak cry and poor muscle tone; this all relates to the muscle paralysis caused by the bacterial toxin. If untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis of the respiratory muscles, arms, legs, and trunk. In food borne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food, but can occur as early as six hours or as late as 10 days. A very small amount of the toxin is sufficient to lead to very severe poisoning.
Of significant note, botulism poisoning is extremely neurotoxic and can cause paralysis of breathing muscles, which can lead to death without treatment. Respiratory ventilation is needed in about eight percent of cases.

People with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and children are at increased risk of developing botulism symptoms. Complications can include infection and aspiration pneumonia, long-term weakness, respiratory distress, and long-term nervous system problems. While antibiotics are often used in treatment, they do not always resolve the food borne illness.

Consumers in possession of the recalled Seng Ong Wholesale dried mackerel and dried round scad are advised not to eat it, and should return it to the place of purchase. Seng Ong Wholesale can be reached at 1.612.802.3240.

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