Fish Recalled Over Botulism Risk

Haifa Smoked Fish, located in Queens, New York, is recalling Haifa brand vacuum packaged Whole Schmaltz Herring with the lot number 20, because the product was found to be uneviscerated and may pose a <"">botulism risk, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just announced.

The lot being recalled is a product of Norway and is individually vacuum-packed in clear plastic pouches with lot # 20 indicated on the label. The recalled Haifa Smoked Fish was distributed through various food retailers in the New York and New Jersey areas.

A New York State Agriculture and Markets Food Inspector sampled the Whole Schmaltz Herring during a routine inspection. Subsequent analysis of the product by New York State Food Laboratory personnel confirmed that Whole Schmaltz Herring was not properly eviscerated prior to processing. The sale of uneviscerated fish is prohibited under New York State Agriculture and Markets regulations because Clostridium Botulinum spores are likelier to be concentrated in the viscera than any other portion of the fish. Uneviscerated fish has been linked to outbreaks of botulism poisoning. To date, no illnesses have been reported in connection with this problem.

Botulism is a serious and potentially fatal form of food poisoning and can cause life-threatening illness or death. Symptoms can include: General weakness, dizziness, double or blurred vision, 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—abdominal distension, and constipation may also be common symptoms. Botulism poisoning can cause paralysis of breathing muscles, which can lead to death without treatment and respiratory ventilation in about eight percent of cases.

People experiencing any of these problems should seek immediate medical attention and consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled and should return it to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 718-523-8899.

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