Smoked Seafood Products Recalled for Possible Botulism Risk

Foremost Foods, International, Inc. of Pomona, California, just issued a recall of some of its Pangasinan brand smoked seafood products over potential contamination with the very dangerous, life-threatening, Clostridium botulinum pathogen. Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

The recalled Pangasinan brand smoked seafood products were manufactured by FitRite Incorporated of the Philippines and were distributed in California, Nevada, and Washington state through Seafood City and Manila Seafood retail stores.

This recall involves Pangasinan brand smoked seafood products sold between March 2010 and October 2011 in a clear vacuum-packed plastic package, in 60-pack, six-ounce packages that were marked as follows:

• Pangasinan Roundscad Smoked Galunggong: UPC 2239257451
• Pangasinan Mackerel Smoked Hasa Hasa: UPC 2239257470

The recall was initiated after the FDA sampled the product and found it to be partially uneviscerated and may have the potential to cause Botulism. While no illnesses have been reported, to date, it can take up to 10 days for botulism poisoning symptoms to manifest

Consumers who have purchased the recalled Pangasinan products are urged to return them to their place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1.909.525.9500 extension 154, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

As we’ve long explained, botulism 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.

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 foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food, but can occur as early as 6 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 and respiratory ventilation in about eight percent of cases. People with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and children have a higher risk for 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 foodborne illness.

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