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FDA Seeks to Stop CA Fish Producer, Cites Botulism Risk

The U.S. Food and Drug administration is seeking an injunction against a California seafood company because of a risk of botulism and other food hazards in its fish and fish products.

Government inspections determined that Fujino Enterprises Inc., which operates under the name Blue Ocean Smokehouse, was not meeting current sanitation guidelines for seafood production, thus leaving room for potential botulism contamination and other food safety hazards. After the firm failed to update its practices, FDA filed a complaint seeking to shut down fish processing and distribution at the plant.

“This company has ignored warnings by FDA and the California Department of Public Health by continuing to sell seafood that puts consumers’ health at risk,” said Dara A. Corrigan, Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. “We are taking this action, in part, as a result of collaborative enforcement actions with our state partner and as part of our joint efforts to protect the public health.”

Blue Ocean processes both fresh and smoked fish and fish products, including salmon, cod, halibut, Wild King Salmon Candy, hot-smoked tuna, sturgeon and hot-smoked fish cream cheese spreads. 

The company’s hot and cold smoked fish products are processed in a way that may allow for the growth of Clostridium botulinum, a toxin that can cause paralysis, respiratory problems, and death, warns FDA. 

Its tuna products were found to be at risk for the development of scombrotoxin, which causes symptoms similar to those of an allergic reaction, including difficulty breathing, headache, nausea and abdominal cramps. 

Inspections also revealed Listeria monocytogenes bacteria on both food-contact and non-food-contact surfaces in food processing areas. Listeria can cause serious, potentially fatal infections in children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals. Pregnant women who contract listeriosis risk stillbirth or miscarriage.

Blue Ocean voluntarily destroyed nearly 1,500 pounds of hot- and cold-smoked fish in October 2011 under the supervision of FDA and the California Department of Health. 

No illness have been associated with food from the company. 

 

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