The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to eat certain mussels from British Columbia because they may contain a biotoxin, Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP), which reportedly has made dozens of people sick.
The affected mussels were harvested by Island Sea Farms Inc. between July 19 and August 2, 2011.
According to the CFIA news release, there have been illnesses reported in connection with the mussels but no details on the outbreak were provided. News reports in Canada say at least 50 people have been sickened.
The following mussels are affected by the alert:
— Saltspring Island Mussels, Aquacultured Edulis Mussels, 5 lbs (2.27 kg), all lots up to and including Lot # 289; all harvest dates up to and including August 2, 2011 (2011AU02)
— Albion Fisheries Ltd., Mussel N/Shell Saltspring Isl., 5 lbs, all harvest dates up to and including August 4, 2011
— Pacific Rim Shellfish Corp.,Mussels or Gallo Mussels, various weights, all harvest dates up to and including July 31, 2011
— Albion, SSI Mussels, various weights, ship dates of July 20 to August 4, 2011 inclusive
— B & C Food, Mussels,various weights, processing dates of July 20 to August 4, 2011, inclusive
Island Sea Farms has issued a recall. Retailers and restaurants are advised to check the tags or labels on mussel packages or with their supplier to determine if they have the affected mussels. Consumers who purchased raw mussels from retailers between July 19 and August 6 should check with their retailer.
The recalled mussels were distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. However, they may have been distributed in other provinces and territories.
The CFIA said it is collaborating with Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancouver Island Health Authority, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, and Health Canada to investigate the illnesses.
Food contaminated with DSP may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with this biotoxin may cause Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning, a foodborne illness. Symptoms may include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and chills.
For more information, consumers and industry can call CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday).