More Uneviserated Fish Recalled

A fourth recall has been implemented for uneviserated fish in as many months. This time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that S&M (USA) Enterprise Corporation, of Brooklyn, New York, is recalling its White Herring because the fish was found to be uneviserated.

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 S&M Enterprise White Herring may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause <"">Botulism, a serious and potentially fatal food borne illness.

The recalled White Herring—a product of China—was distributed in New York State in uncoded, 16-ounce clear plastic bags. The recalled S&M Enterprise White Herring was sampled by a New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspector during a routine inspection; subsequent analysis of the product by New York State Food Laboratory personnel confirmed that the White Herring was not properly eviscerated prior to processing.

The FDA is advising consumer who have purchased the recalled S&M Enterprise White Herring not to eat it and return it to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact S&M Enterprise Corporation at 718-492-4288.

Most recently, Dried Chechon fish were recalled last month by San Link Incorporated of Brooklyn, New York, because the vacuum-packed fish was found to be uneviscerated. The fish was a product of Russia. In late January, 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.

Botulism 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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