Fish Recalled Over Botulism Risk

Dried Chechon fish have just been recalled by San Link Incorporated because the vacuum-packed fish was found to be uneviscerated, a serious health violation because of the likelihood of Clostidium botulinum spores—<"">botulism—making its way into the product.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that San Link, of 1763 Bath Avenue in Brooklyn New York has recalled its vacuum packaged Dried Chechon, which was distributed in New York state in random weight plastic bags.  The packages averaged 0.66 pounds and were coded with the following date code:  21.12.2008.  The recalled San Link vacuum packaged Dried Chechon is a product of Russia.

The vacuum packaged Dried Chechon was sampled by a New York State Department of Agriculture and Market Food Inspector during a routine inspection; subsequent analysis of the product by New York State Food Laboratory personnel confirmed the vacuum packaged Dried Chechon was not properly eviscerated prior to processing.

Uneviscerated fish are those fish who were not disemboweled and whose internal organs remain intact within the fish.  The sale of uneviscerated fish is prohibited under New York State Agriculture and Market regulations because Clostridium botulinum spores are more likely to be concentrated in the viscera—or internal organs—than any other portion of the fish.  Uneviscerated fish have been linked to outbreaks of botulism poisoning in the past and the FDA is advising that the recalled Dried Chechon fish may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause Botulism, a serious and potentially fatal food-borne illness.

The FDA is advising consumers who have purchased the recalled vacuum packaged Dried Chechon to not eat the potentially contaminated fish and return it to the place of purchase.  Consumers with questions may contact San Link Inc at 1-718-256-3136.

Meanwhile, this is the third such FDA warning in recent months.  Late last month, the FDA announced the recall of “Golden Dragon Fish brand Frozen Cooked Mackerel Fish” because that fish product was found to be uneviscerated prior to processing.  In December, the FDA issued another warning to consumers and retailers regarding the risk of botulism from Ungutted, Salt-Cured Alewives—also known as Gaspereaux—Fish.  In that recall case, the FDA noted that any ungutted fish over five inches in length that is salt-cured, dried, or smoked is considered adulterated because it could contain the very dangerous and deadly C. botulinum toxin.

Botuslim is a very serious, sometimes deadly infection.  Of very significant importance, the botulism contamination cannot be removed by freezing or cooking tainted foods.  Botulism symptoms can initiate at any time from six hours to 10 days after eating contaminated food, says the FDA, and can include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness that starts at the shoulders and moves progressively down the body.  Botulism poisoning can also cause paralysis of the breathing muscles, which can lead to death without treatment and respiratory ventilation in about eight percent of cases.  If not treated properly, botulism can paralyze breathing muscles, and victims can spend months on hospital ventilators until the botulism toxin is out of their system.

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