OTTAWA, April 14, 2014 /CNW/ -
Issue: Many Sham el-Nessim celebrations include a traditional family meal.
Certain salted fish products like fesikh, a traditional dish in the
Egyptian community, represent an increased risk of botulism because of
the way they are prepared.
The fish used to make these salted fish dishes are not gutted before the
ripening and salting process. This provides an opportunity for Clostridium botulinum bacteria that may be in the gut of the fish to grow and produce the
toxins that cause botulism. These toxins are not eliminated by smoking
or drying the end product. Whether the end product is a whole fish,
fillets or parts, it will not be made safe by refrigerating, freezing,
open air or vacuum packaging.
The most recent botulism outbreak in Canada caused by eating fesikh was
in 2012. Internationally, consuming ungutted salted fish, including
fesikh, has been linked to many cases of botulism.
What you should do:
Food contaminated with the Clostridium botulinum toxin may not look or smell spoiled. Symptoms of botulism can include
nausea and/or vomiting followed by one or more of the following: double
or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, dry mouth, difficulty speaking,
difficulty swallowing, weakness, respiratory failure and paralysis. In
severe cases, death can occur. Symptoms generally begin 12 to 36 hours
after eating a contaminated food, but can occur as early as six hours
or as late as 10 days after. If you experience any of these symptoms
after eating fesikh, contact your health care professional.
For more information:
Government of Canada
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SOURCE: Health Canada
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