State officials are warning people not to eat dried "uneviscerated" fish after 1,500 pounds of the product was embargoed at specialty wholesalers and markets in the Twin Cities.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture was tipped off within the past week by health officials who reported that some ethnic food wholesalers and markets in the metro area were selling uneviscerated fish — essentially fish that hasn't been gutted.
That type of fish, even when dried, is at high risk for botulism contamination. Anyone who has purchased the product should throw it away, officials say.
"If those tissues — the guts, the gills — are still there they can harbor bacteria and spores," said MDA spokesman Mike Schommer. "That's where you really get into a problem with the toxin that's associated with botulism."
No illnesses have been reported in connection with the fish, but Schommer said anyone who's become sick after eating uneviscerated fish should call a doctor.
Affected fish include smoked croaker, smoked barracuda, smoked big eye, smoked red snapper, dried mackerel and dried round scad, Schommer said.