Ag department issues warning about dried fishThe Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is alerting consumers to avoid eating dried uneviscerated fish after department officials discovered and embargoed more than 1,500 pounds of product at ethnic grocery wholesalers and retail stores in the Twin Cities.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is alerting consumers to avoid eating dried uneviscerated fish after department officials discovered and embargoed more than 1,500 pounds of product at ethnic grocery wholesalers and retail stores in the Twin Cities.
There are no reports of illness associated with the embargoed product. MDA issued the advisory due to the high risk of such product being contaminated with Clostridium bacteria that can produce botulinum toxin.
Import Foods Wholesale Inc., of St. Paul, has voluntarily recalled Smoked Croaker, Smoked Barracuda, Smoked Big Eye, and Smoked Red Snapper. Seng Ong Wholesale Inc., of St. Paul, has voluntarily recalled Dried Mackerel and Dried Round Scad. MDA is working with officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine additional product source and distribution channels. Consumers are advised to throw away any dried uneviscerated fish they may have purchased.
Evisceration of fish involves the complete removal of all internal organs (viscera) in the body cavity, including the gills. Eating salted or smoked, dried uneviscerated fish can result in potentially deadly botulism poisoning. According to FDA, the spores of Clostridium botulinum are commonly found in freshwater and marine environments and have been found in the gills and internal organs of finfish, crabs, and shellfish. Clostridium botulinum spores are more likely to be concentrated in the viscera than any other portion of the fish. For this reason, FDA recommends that any product that will be preserved by salting, drying, pickling, or fermentation should be fully eviscerated prior to processing. Uneviscerated whole fish that are salt-cured, dried or smoked represent a potentially life-threatening health hazard. In addition, fillets, parts or other products derived from uneviscerated fish pose the same potential health hazard as the original product. Such products are hazardous regardless of packaging or storage conditions.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, botulinum toxin can cause double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. If untreated, these symptoms may progress to include paralysis of the arms, legs, trunk, and respiratory muscles. In food-borne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food, but symptoms can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days after eating contaminated food.
Consumers who think they may have become ill after eating uneviscerated fish should contact a doctor or other health care provider.