FDA issues Public Health Alert concerning possible Listeria contamination of Felix Custom Smoking seafood products

Product Recalls

Felix Custom Smoking product labels (FDA images)

The FDA has released the following:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting consumers who have purchased Felix Custom Smoking branded products directly from the firm, as well as companies and commercial and sports fishermen who have used Felix to process, package, and/or label their seafood.

  • The FDA is advising consumers not to eat any of Felix’s products or products processed by Felix and to discard any remaining products they may have purchased in the past due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.
  • The FDA is advising companies and commercial fishermen not to sell or further distribute any products processed by Felix. They also should discard any of their remaining products that were processed by Felix due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Product 

Felix Custom Smoking of Monroe, Washington, is a processor of a variety of ready-to-eat salmon, squid jerky, and frozen, hot smoked and cold smoked seafood. The firm also processes seafood products for companies that distribute these products independently.

 Some of Felix’s products include:

  • Felix Northwest Blend Smoked Wild King Salmon
  • Felix Northwest Blend Smoked Wild Sockeye Salmon
  • Felix Northwest Blend Smoked Wild Tuna
  • Felix Pepper Smoked Wild Mixed Salmon Jerky
  • Felix Wild Keta Teriyaki Smoked Salmon Jerky

One of Felix’s customers, Loki Fish Company, issued its own product recall on August 23, 2021.

Purpose

The FDA advises consumers not to purchase or eat any seafood products sold or processed by Felix Custom Smoking due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Listeria monocytogenes is a species of disease-causing bacteria, which can cause an infection called listeriosis. Listeria monocytogenes is generally transmitted when food is harvested, processed, prepared, packed, transported or stored in environments contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. A listeriosis infection can have serious adverse effects for women who are or may become pregnant, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems. There are a range of symptoms for listeriosis. Depending on the severity of the illness, symptoms may last from days to several weeks. Mild symptoms may include a fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If a more severe form of listeriosis develops, symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. For the very young, the elderly, and the immune-compromised listeriosis can result in death.

Summary of Problem and Scope

The FDA detected the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and other strains of Listeria during an inspection at Felix Custom Smoking that began on July 19, 2021 and is still ongoing. 

As part of the inspection, on July 19, 2021, the FDA collected environmental samples from the firm which consisted of 104 samples from direct food contact surfaces and areas near direct food contact surfaces.  Laboratory analysis shows that of the 104 samples collected, 19 tested positive for the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and four tested positive for other strains of Listeria.  Of the 19 samples that were positive for Listeria monocytogenes, five were collected from food contact surfaces.

The FDA has notified Felix of its findings, but the company has declined to initiate a recall of its products and is still processing seafood at this time.

FDA Actions

The FDA is issuing this alert to notify consumers, companies, and fishermen who may have received product from Felix because the agency is concerned about the presence of Listeria monocytogenes at the firm and the safety of its products. The FDA is continuing its efforts with Felix and its customers to remove these products from the market. 

Recommendations for Companies and Commercial Fishermen

Discard and do not sell or further distribute all seafood products processed by Felix.

Recommendations for Consumers

  • Contact your healthcare providers immediately if you are experiencing illness after consuming these products.  
  • Contact your healthcare providers if you have recently consumed these products and are concerned about your health.
  • Consumers who have purchased these products should throw the food away and follow these steps:
    • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have had contact with contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used. 
    • Wipe up spills in the refrigerator immediately and clean the refrigerator regularly.
    • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and following any cleaning and sanitation process.
    • Pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems should avoid certain foods, including raw fish, which carry a higher risk for Listeria monocytogenes.

Reporting Problems to the FDA

To report a complaint or adverse event (illness or injury), you can

Visit www.fda.gov/fcic for additional consumer and industry assistance.

Additional Information:

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