Botulism Alert: “Golden Dragon” Fish RecalledJan 20, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just announced the recall of “Golden Dragon Fish brand Frozen Cooked Mackerel Fish" because the fish product was found to be uneviscerated prior to processing. This means that there is an increased risk for contamination with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause Botulism, a serious and potentially fatal food-borne illness.
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 Markets regulations because Clostridium Botulinum spores are more likely to be concentrated in the viscera—the internal organs—than any other portion of the fish. Also, such uneviscerated fish has been linked to prior outbreaks of botulism poisoning.
The recalled Golden Dragon Fish brand Frozen Cooked Mackerel Fish is packaged in uncoded 250G plastic bags and baskets and is a product of Vietnam. "Golden Dragon Fish brand Frozen Cooked Mackerel Fish" was sold in New York and New Jersey. The manufacturer, K-Fat, Inc. is located in Brooklyn, New York. The problem was discovered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors during a routine inspection.
Although no illnesses have been reported, to date, in connection with the recalled Golden Dragon Fish brand Frozen Cooked Mackerel Fish, the FDA is warning consumers in possession of this recalled product to not to eat it, and return it to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact K-Fat, Inc. at (718) 381-0306.
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.
Just last month, the FDA issued another warning to consumers and retailers regarding the risk of botulism from Ungutted, Salt-Cured Alewives—also known as Gaspereaux—Fish, which may have been sold in Florida and originated from Michel & Charles LeBlanc Fisheries Ltd., CAP-PELÈ, New Brunswick, Canada. In that recall case, the FDA noted that any ungutted fish that is over five inches in length and is salt-cured, dried, or smoked, such as the ungutted, salt-cured alewives/gaspereaux fish, is considered adulterated because it could contain the very dangerous and deadly C. botulinum toxin.