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CFIA suspends licence of firm linked to Clostridium botulinum recall

By Joe Whitworth , 20-Mar-2013

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has suspended the licence of a company linked to an outbreak of Clostridium botulinum in bar clams.

The CFIA suspended operations at St. Thomas Fish Market in St-Thomas-De-Kent, New Brunswick after the company failed to correct deficiencies identified through inspections.

Appropriate food safety controls relating to the company’s canning processes are not being reliably implemented in the facility on a consistent basis, said the agency.

Recall notice

A recall notice was issued earlier this week for certain brand bottled bar clams due to possible contamination but no illnesses have been reported as yet.

“All products currently at this plant are under CFIA detention. St. Thomas Fish Market Inc. will not be able to resume operations until they have fully implemented the necessary corrective actions,” said the CFIA.

The affected product, St. Thomas brand Bar Clams, was sold in jars declaring a drained weight of 210g (7.410z.) and bearing UPC 0 81971 90013 1.

The affected jars also contain one of the following lot codes which are located on the cover of the jar: 03731, 03732, 03831, 03832, 03833, 03931, 03932, 05631, 05633, 05634.

This product has been distributed in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.

About Clostridium botulinum

Food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum toxin may not look or smell spoiled, said the CFIA.

Consumption of food contaminated with the toxin may cause nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, headache, double vision, dry throat, respiratory failure and paralysis and in severe cases of illness, people may die.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) symptoms can last for several weeks and then slowly go away over several months.

Outbreaks caused by Clostridium botulinum resulted in 67% of people being hospitalised, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report for the US in 2009-2010.

Last month, US-based ZIP International Group recalled selected Dry Salted Fish because the product was found to be uneviscerated, and has the potential to be contaminated with the bacterium.

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