Three cases of illness – apparently botulism – have prompted Canadian health authorities to recall fermented mullet called fesikh from a specific supplier in Ontario and to warn the public not to eat it.
In a news release, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said three people are ill after eating fesikh from Lotus Catering and Fine Food in Toronto. The CFIA said the fish has been recalled because it may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that produces toxins which can cause botulism.
Fesikh is a traditional Egyptian fish dish made from mullet, which is dried in the sun until it putrefies and then salted and left to pickle for at least 40 days. Despite annual warnings by health officials against the dangers of fesikh, most Egyptians eat it during the Sham al-Nessim spring celebration.
Cases of food poisoning from incorrectly prepared fesikh are reported each year.
Food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum toxin may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with the toxin may cause nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, headache, double vision, dry throat, respiratory failure and paralysis. In severe cases of illness, people may die.
For more information about this recall call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
Image of packaged fesikh is from the CFIA