15/01/19: Norwegian fish dish linked to botulism case

Torpet Fiskeoppdrettsanlegg AS recalled rakfisk due to suspicions that consumption can cause botulism. Rakfisk is a traditional Norwegian fish dish made from trout or char, salted and then fermented for up to a year before being eaten without cooking.

The withdrawal applies to all varieties of the product that the company produced in 2018.

The news comes days after another company, Slidre Ørretsenter, recalled rakfisk that is the suspected source of a Listeria outbreak in the country that has sickened eight people. Listeria was detected in rakfisk produced by the firm and eight patients reported they ate this product before becoming ill.

Torpet Fiskeoppdrettsanlegg AS asked people who had bought the fish to throw it away or take it back to the place of purchase.

Rakfisk was sold via various market stalls in Trøndelag, direct delivery from Torpet Fiskeoppdrettsanlegg AS and via COOP stores in Ålen, Brekken, Røros and Os, according to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet).

The one reported case is in a person who lives in Trøndelag, in central Norway.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstituttet) said rakfisk from the company is the suspected source for the case of foodborne botulism.

People who have rakfisk of this type in the refrigerator should throw the product out and not eat it. Those who have eaten it and have symptoms consistent with botulism should consult a doctor.

The agency said toxins can develop under certain adverse conditions in the production of certain foods, such as rakfisk, cured meats and canned items.

Previous botulism cases in Norway have been associated with rakfisk and home canned meats.

Botulism is a rare but life-threatening condition caused by toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Onset of symptoms varies from a few hours to several days after exposure to the bacteria or toxins. Symptoms can include blurred or double vision, facial muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech and breathing difficulties.

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