Manila clams sold in B.C. and Ontario under recall due to possible biotoxin

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      Update (September 25): TThe Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that these clams have also been distributed in Alberta and may have been distributed nationally.

      Original article (September 24):

      A recall is underway for clams from British Columbia that were sold in B.C. and Ontario, as they may contain toxins that could cause illness, with potentially fatal consequences.

      The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced on September 22 that Evergreen International Foodstuffs is recalling specific Manila clams due to a marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). The CFIA is currently conducting a food safety investigation that may result in the recall of other products.

      The affected clams are sold with the following information:

      • Harvest Date: Sep 16, 2020

      • Processing Date: Sep 17, 2020

      • Harvest Location: B.C. 17-20

      • Lot# 21057

      Canadian Food Inspection Agency

      Although the CFIA lists the clams as sold in 25 pound quantities, they may have also been sold in bulk or smaller packages with or without a label, and may not have the same brand, product name, or code.

      These clams were distributed in B.C. and Ontario.

      Anyone who has these clams should return them to the place of purchase or dispose of them. Anyone who is uncertain about the source of the clams should check with the place of purchase.

      Bivalve shellfish are sensitive to water quality as they feed by filtering microscopic organisms from the water. As a result, harmful bacteria, viruses, and marine biotoxins can accumulate in their tissues and cause illness when eaten.

      Paralytic shellfish toxins are natural toxins that can sometimes accumulate in bivalve shellfish, such as oysters, clams, scallops, or mussels. Non-bivalve shellfish, such as whelks, can also accumulate toxins that cause PSP when consumed.

      It's important to note that these toxins are not destroyed by cooking.

      PSP symptoms include tingling sensations and numbness of the lips, tongue, face, neck, hands, and feet; drowsiness; headaches and dizziness; and difficulty swallowing within a few minutes and up to 10 hours after consumption.

      In severe cases, PSP can cause incoherent speech, difficulty walking, muscle paralysis (or stiffness or lack of coordination of limbs), weakness, rapid pulse, respiratory paralysis, and even death (within two to 12 hours after consumption).

      Other symptoms can include salivation, temporary blindness, nausea, and vomiting.

      Anyone who feels ill after eating bivalve shellfish should immediately seek medical attention.

      More information about PSP and marine biotoxins in shellfish is available at the CFIA website.

      So far, there haven’t been any reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these clams.