Possibly contaminated seafood sold from a Port Hardy distributor

The BC Centre for Disease Control is warning people about possible contamination of seafood which was sold from a distributor in Port Hardy.

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is warning people about possible contamination of seafood which was sold from a distributor in Port Hardy.

BCCDC said there is a risk of paralytic shellfish poisoning and botulism from the seafood products which were sold through a buy and sell ad on www.buyselltrade.ca, but they add the food may have been distributed through other mediums as well.

There is no identifying packaging or product codes on these items and there is no indication this food has been available through retail stores or restaurants.

The list of products sold are:

Frozen clams (butter clams and possibly others) in small and large Ziploc bags;

Jarred clams (butter clams and possibly others) in 500 ml and 1 litre jars;

Frozen BBQ salmon;

Canned salmon pieces in clam juice;

Other similar products may have also been distributed.

BCCDC say anyone who may have purchased these products should not consume them and discard them. Cooking will not destroy the toxins associated with paralytic shellfish poisoning or botulism.

The symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning include: tingling; numbness, spreading from lips and mouth to face, neck and extremities; dizziness; arm and leg weakness; paralysis; respiratory failure; and possibly death.  Symptoms start quickly, within 30 minutes to three hours. The progression and intensity of the symptoms will vary.

Botulism is a serious, often fatal form of food poisoning. The illness is due to a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that is found everywhere, but grows and produces botulinum toxin when foods are improperly canned.

The symptoms of botulism include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. Constipation may occur. Symptoms generally begin 18-36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as six hours or as late as 10 days afterward. Over the years, a number of Canadians have died from botulism, as a direct result of improper home canning.

The products were harvested from an area closed to shellfish harvesting, and were not processed at a government-approved facility. All bivalve shellfish sold in BC must come from open shellfish harvesting areas and from sources that pass a federal inspection.  Canned clams and salmon products may not have been properly processed to control for botulinum toxin.

This alert is the result of an ongoing investigation by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).  The BCCDC is currently working with DFO, Health Canada, the Ministry of Health, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and regional health authorities to ensure the products are removed from distribution and to investigate any possible cases of illness. Currently there are no illnesses linked to these products.

Anyone who has consumed these products and has become ill should report their illness to their local public health office and see a physician if symptoms persist or become severe. Call the 24-hour HealthLink BC Line at 8-1-1 for more information.

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