July 13, 2020

Mill Stream Cold Smoked Salmon Recalled For Possible Botulism

Ten lots of Mill Stream Cold Smoked Salmon are being recalled because they may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Consumers are told to not eat this product even if it doesn’t look or smell spoiled; this pathogen does not affect the taste or texture of food. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this recall.

The product’s water phase salt (WPS) tested below 3.5%, which permits the growth of the anaerobic bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum. Laboratory certificates incorrectly reported the WPS levels. In addition, labeling instructions on the salmon state it must be kept refrigerated at or below 38°F and that the product may be frozen. But with a low WPS, any product packaged in oxygen-free packaging must remain frozen until it’s ready to eat. Any salmon that was thawed and stored in the fridge after thawing may be contaminated with the bacteria.

The recalled Mill Stream Cold Smoked Salmon was sold between March 6, 2019 and September 17, 2019 in vacuum sealed packages. The package sizes included whole salmon side, 2 pound, 1 pound, 8 ounce, and 4 ounce. The lot numbers printed on the package include: 7049, 7050, 7051, 7052, 7054, 7056, 7058, 7060, 7062, 7066.

The 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, Michigan, and Texas. The product was sold through retail, wholesale, and online orders.

In addition, the product was sold frozen by Mill Stream Corporation, but may have been thawed by retailers before sale. The recall notice states that “Consumers who bought the product frozen should keep it frozen until ready to use and thaw only in the fridge immediately before use.”

[Editor’s note: It’s not possible to completely trust the chain of command in the food supply system.  Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner of Food Policy & Response of the FDA, tweeted, “You can have the best documented policies or procedures in the world, but if they’re not put into practice by people, they’re not very useful.” If I had this salmon in my fridge or freezer I would discard it. The salmon may have thawed sometime along the food chain.]

Symptoms of botulism food poisoning include general weakness, dizziness, double vision, and trouble speaking or swallowing. As the toxin’s affects progress, a person will experience difficulty breathing, weakness of muscles, and abdominal distension. Anyone experiencing these problems should see a doctor immediately. An antidote is available but must be administered in a hospital.

Mill Stream Cold Smoked Salmon Recalled For Possible Botulism

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