Fish company declines to issue recall; operations continue despite FDA finding of Listeria

Fish company declines to issue recall; operations continue despite FDA finding of Listeria

by Sue Jones
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers not to purchase or eat any seafood products sold or processed by Felix Custom Smoking because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The FDA detected the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and other strains of Listeria bacteria during an inspection at Felix Custom Smoking that began on July 19 and is still ongoing. The FDA has notified the company of its findings, but the company has declined to initiate a recall of its products and is still processing seafood at this time, according to the public alert.

Consumers should discard any remaining Felix Custom Smoking branded products they may have purchased.

The FDA also advises companies that purchased Felix Custom Smoking branded products directly from the firm, as well as companies and commercial and sports fishermen who have used Felix to process, package and/or label their seafood, to not to sell or further distribute any products processed by Felix.

The FDA says companies should discard any of their remaining products that were processed by Felix because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Felix Custom Smoking of Monroe, WA, is a processor of a variety of ready-to-eat salmon, squid jerky and frozen, hot smoked and cold smoked seafood. The firm also processes seafood products for companies that distribute products independently.

Felix brand products subject to public health alert:                                                                                                                                

  • Felix Northwest Blend Smoked Wild King Salmon
  • Felix Northwest Blend Smoked Wild Sockeye Salmon
  • Felix Northwest Blend Smoked Wild Tuna
  • Felix Pepper Smoked Wild Mixed Salmon Jerky
  • Felix Wild Keta Teriyaki Smoked Salmon Jerky

One of Felix’s customers, Loki Fish Company, issued its own product recall on Aug. 23, 2021.

Listeria found during FDA inspection

As part of the inspection, on July 19, 2021, the FDA collected environmental samples from the firm which consisted of 104 samples from direct food contact surfaces and areas near direct food contact surfaces.  Laboratory analysis shows that of the 104 samples collected, 19 tested positive for the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and four tested positive for other strains of Listeria.  Of the 19 samples that were positive for Listeria monocytogenes, five were collected from food contact surfaces.

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any recalled product and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the products mentioned above should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

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