Hong Chang Corporation Recalls Monkfish

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Monkfish Recall

Hong Chang Corporation is recalling product labeled as monkfish because it may contain tetrodotoxin, a potent toxin.

Although the product was identified as monkfish, we are concerned the product may be pufferfish because this toxin is usually associated with certain types of pufferfish. Consumption of foods containing tetrodotoxin can result in life-threatening illness or death. This toxin cannot be destroyed by cooking or freezing.

Initial symptoms occur within 30 minutes to several hours after consuming food containing the toxin and are characterized by lip and tongue tingling and then followed by facial and extremity tingling and numbness. Subsequent symptoms may include headache, balance problems, excessive salivation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea with abdominal pain which can be severe. In severe cases, muscles can become paralyzed and death may follow resulting from respiratory muscle paralysis. Consumers experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical care.

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A total of 282, 22-lb. boxes of monkfish were distributed to wholesalers in Illinois, California and Hawaii beginning in September 2006. This product was sold in retail stores, restaurants, and cash and carry stores in these regions.

The monkfish are individually packaged in clear plastic sleeves and placed in a plastic liner which is inside a cardboard box. There are no lot numbers on the box. The boxes are packed by total weight, 22 pounds, with labeling on one panel that reads "MONK FISH GUTTED AND HEAD-OFF PRODUCT OF CHINA". A second box panel bears nutritional facts and the following, "Ingredients: Monk fish; Imported by: Hong Chang Corp, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670; Product of China (P.R.C.)."

The problem was discovered after two people in the Chicago, IL area fell ill after consuming soup made with the "monkfish". The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) analysis of the fish confirmed the presence of life-threatening levels of tetrodotoxin.

At this time, Hong Chang Corp. and FDA are investigating how the problem occurred.

Consumers who have purchased this monkfish are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Care should be exercised in handling the fish as the tetrodotoxin may be present on the skin and flesh of the fish. Wash hands thoroughly after handling. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-562-309-0068.

Consumers who may have consumed these products and have concerns are encouraged to contact their health care provider. Consumers should also report illnesses associated with consumption of these products to the nearest FDA district offices and to their local health authority.