New York officials have warned the public to not eat Phil Am branded smoked mackerel — Hasa Hasa — because it was not eviscerated and could contain spores that cause botulism poisoning.
The fish is a product of the Philippines and is sold by the Asian Supermarket Group Inc. of Albany, NY, according to the consumer alert from the state’s Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball. No illnesses had been confirmed in connection with the Phil Am brand smoked mackerel as of the posting of the Dec. 1 alert.
Consumers can identify the implicated smoked mackerel, which is vacuum-packed in clear, flexible plastic pouches by the UPC number 814487015147. The fish is sold at refrigerated temperatures and is not otherwise coded.
“Uneviscerated processed fish is prohibited under New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ regulations because Clostridium botulinum spores are more likely to be concentrated in the viscera (organs and entrails) than any other portion of the fish. Because the fish is uneviscerated, the product may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause Botulism, a serious and potentially fatal foodborne illness,” according to the consumer alert.
“The ‘Phil AM brand Smoked Mackerel (Hasa Hasa)’ was found by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets food inspectors during a routine inspection of the retail firm. Subsequent analysis by New York State Food Laboratory personnel confirmed the product to be uneviscerated.”
Anyone who has eaten any of the implicated smoked mackerel and developed symptoms of botulism poisoning should immediately seek medical attention and inform their doctors of their potential exposure. Symptoms include blurred or double vision, general weakness, poor reflexes, difficulty swallowing and respiratory paralysis.
If consumers have any questions, they can call the state department at 518-457-4492.
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