Following laboratory tests, a Maine company is recalling cold smoked salmon because of a risk of botulism poisoning. Mill Stream Corp. shipped the fish to 23 states and sold it online.

“The recall was initiated because the product’s water phase salt (WPS) tested below 3.5 percent. This was discovered upon re-review of laboratory certificates, which were found to have incorrectly reported WPS levels,” according to the company’s recall notice posted on the Food and Drug Administration website.

Although no illnesses had been reported as of the posting of the recall notice, the company warned consumers to not use the recalled Sullivan Harbor Farm cold smoked salmon “even if it does not look or smell spoiled.”

Because of the improper water phase salt level the fish has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death in the form of botulism poisoning.

Mill Stream Corp. sold the salmon frozen, but some retailers may have thawed it, increasing the danger. 

“Labeling instructions state to keep refrigerated at or below 38 degrees F and that the product may be frozen. Because the WPS is under 3.5 percent the product must remain frozen until ready to consume. Product stored in the refrigerator after thawing has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum,” according to the recall notice.

“If a consumer has refrigerated product subject to the recall, they should dispose of it immediately even if it does not look or smell spoiled.”

The company did not provide photos of the salmon products or labels with the recall notice.

The recalled fish was sold between March 6 and Sept. 17 in vacuum sealed packages in the following sizes: whole salmon side, 2 lb., 1 lb., 8 oz., and 4 oz.  The affected product is marked with the following lot numbers marked on the back of the packages: 

  • 7049
  • 7050 
  • 7051 
  • 7052 
  • 7054 
  • 7056 
  • 7058 
  • 7060 
  • 7062
  • 7066

The smoked salmon was sold and distributed in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Utah, Iowa, Tennessee, Minnesota, Colorado, Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin, Washington, Georgia, Illinois, Virginia, Mississippi and Texas. The products sold were through retail, wholesale and online orders.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 207-266-0621

About botulism
While a variety of illnesses can result from eating under-processed food, one of the most dangerous is botulism poisoning. Untreated, botulism can paralyze the muscles needed for breathing, resulting in sudden death.

Anyone who has eaten any recalled products and developed signs of botulism poisoning should immediately seek medical attention, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food. However, symptoms can begin as soon as 6 hours after or up to 10 days later,” according to the CDC website.

The symptoms of botulism may include some of all of the following: double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, a thick-feeling tongue, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. People with botulism poisoning may not show all of these symptoms at once.

These symptoms result from muscle paralysis caused by the toxin. If untreated, the disease may progress, and symptoms may worsen to cause paralysis of specific muscles, including those used in breathing and those in the arms, legs, and the body from the neck to the pelvis area.

Editor’s note: At this time, the credibility of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not to be trusted. Both agencies have shown a reckless disregard for the public’s right to know, and their reliability going forward remains suspect.

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