Smoked Salmon Recalled for Botulism Risk

A company in Maine has recalled packages of smoked salmon sold in 23 states for fears it may be contaminated with botulism, a dangerous and potentially deadly form of food poisoning.



Mill Stream Corp., which does business as Sullivan Harbor Farm of Hancock, ME, recalled the 10 lots of smoked salmon that was marketed as safe to be kept in the refrigerator or freezer. But a review of lab reports showed the fish’s salt content was too low for it to be safely refrigerated, making it susceptible to Clostridiumbotulinum, or botulism.

The salmon was sold between March 6 and Sept. 17 in vacuum-sealed packages as a whole salmon side, and in 2-pound, 1-pound, 8-ounce, and 4-ounce packages with lot numbers: 7049, 7050, 7051, 7052, 7054, 7056, 7058, 7060, 7062, and 7066.

The recalled products were sold in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Botulism poisoning may cause general weakness, dizziness, double vision, and trouble speaking or swallowing. Having a hard time breathing, muscle weakness, belly pain, and constipation are also common symptoms. People who have these problems should seek medical help. No illnesses have been connected to the recalled products.
This is not the first time Mill Stream ran afoul of FDA regulations. The company agreed to shut down its manufacturing in 2016 after the U.S. Justice Department filed a complaint in federal court on behalf of the FDA. The complaint said Mill Stream failed “to plan for and control the presence of bacteria and neurotoxins commonly found in seafood-processing facilities,” according to a Department of Justice news release.

It said Mill Stream’s products were “adulterated in that they have been prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions whereby the products may have become contaminated with filth or have been rendered injurious to health.”

The company spent the next 3 years working to gain FDA approval to begin selling smoked fish and other products. It reopened in August 2019, according to a blog post on the Sullivan Harbor Farm website.

“We spent 3 years going through a relicensing ordeal with the FDA, which oversees and licenses all seafood in the US,” the blog post says. “We stuck to our guns with our artisanal approach to curing and smoking. Going forward our customers can expect the same level of quality and tastes from our products while maintaining high food safety standards.”

by Aaron Gould Sheinin


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