Illegal Malaysian catfish snuck into U.S.
| Catfish importer from Toronto recalls fish paste for missing border inspection
| Food Safety News – Mannarich Food Inc., the Importer of Record from Toronto Saturday recalled approximately 145,245 pounds of Siluriformes [catfish] products that were not presented at the U.S. point of entry for inspection, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
[The recalled catfish products are in the form of fish paste. Many Chinese restaurant dishes may be flavored with fish paste, even though the ingredient is rarely listed on a menu. – Ed.]
The products were imported to the U.S. on various dates from June 26, 2017, through November 13, 2018.
The products have a shelf life of two years and all lots produced are included in the recall. The recalled products include:
- 300-g. plastic containers containing “FISH PASTE.”
- 300-g. plastic containers containing “MANNARICH FISH PASTE WITH BLACK MOSS.”
- 2-kg. sealed plastic bags containing “FISH PASTE WITH BLACK MOSS.”
- 3-kg. sealed plastic bags containing “FISH BALL WITH BLACK MOSS.”
- 2-kg. sealed plastic bags containing “FISH PASTE.”
Malaysian catfish is prohibited in the U.S.
The products were imported from Malaysia, a country that is not eligible to export Siluriformes to the United States.
These items were shipped to wholesale and retail locations nationwide.
The problem was discovered on November 19, 2018, by FSIS through routine monitoring of eligibility of imported products.
There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a healthcare provider.
FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.
When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.
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What is fish paste?
Fish paste is fish which has been chemically broken down by a fermentation process until it reaches the consistency of a soft creamy purée or paste.
Alternatively, it refers to cooked fish which has been physically broken down by pounding, grinding, pressing, mincing, blending, and/or sieving, until it reaches the consistency of paste.
The term can be applied also to shellfish pastes, such as shrimp paste or crab paste.
Fish paste is used as a condiment or seasoning to add flavor to food, or in some cases to complement a dish. Generally, fish paste is reduced to a thick, rich concentrate, which has usually been cooked for a long time.
It can be contrasted with fish sauce, which is like a fish paste except it is not cooked for so long, is a thick liquid rather than a concentrated paste, and may include seasonings and other flavorings.
“Preservation of marine products is of great importance to the coastal poor. Preserved fish products ensure adequate protein during low fishing periods. Subsistence fishers use their abundant catch of small fish to make fermented fish paste and smoked fish with the assistance of family members.”