December 15, 2008

FDA warns about Canadian alewives fish

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning about the sale or consumption of certain imported ungutted, salt-cured alewives fish from Canada.

The FDA said the fish -- also called gaspereaux fish -- were imported from Michel & Charles LeBlanc Fisheries Ltd. of New Brunswick, Canada, and might contain Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that can cause botulism, a serious and sometimes life-threatening condition. The toxin cannot be removed by cooking or freezing.

The federal agency said the fish -- sent to several Florida distributors -- were packed in 30-pound, white plastic pails with green plastic lids. The brand name Michel & Charles LeBlanc Fisheries Ltd. appears on the side of the pails, as does the phrase Product of Canada.

Officials said 173 pails of fish were distributed and might have been repacked or sold loose by retailers in Florida.

The FDA said it considers any ungutted fish over five inches in length that is salt-cured, dried or smoked to be adulterated because it could contain the C. botulinum toxin.