Fish fans on the West Coast might want to toss their lox into the trash if they bought Oregon Lox Company products recently. Earlier this month, the Eugene, Oregon-based company voluntarily recalled brands of Wild Cold Smoked Keta Salmon Lox after learning some of the salmon could be contaminated with an organism that could cause "fatal infections" in young children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. The affected product was distributed in Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington and shipped frozen.
The recall was issued on Nov. 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced. The recall covers Wild Cold Smoked Keta Salmon Lox, specific lot number 22821 since the products could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. According to the FDA, this bacteria can cause "serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems." Healthy individuals might only experience minor symptoms, including "high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea." Pregnant women may experience miscarriages or stillbirths after being exposed.
The affected salmon was shipped in plastic vacuum-sealed packages and sold in several different brands. The FDA published photos of the labels, which include the brand names Aqua Nova, North Coast, and Tony's. The product descriptions found on the labels are Aqua Nova Sliced Nova Lox 3oz package; Aqua Nova Sliced Nova Lox 1lb pack; North Coast Traditional Nova Lox; North Coast Smoked Salmon Trim 3lb; Aqua Nova Premium Oregon Nova Lox (Sliced); Aqua Nova Premium Oregon Nova Lox (UnSliced); and Tony's Smoked Salmon Lox 8oz pack.
No illnesses have yet to be reported in connection with the products. The issue was discovered during routine sampling by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Consumers who bought the affected salmon should throw them out or return the product where it was purchased for a refund. Consumers can also call Oregon Lox Company at 800-233-1850, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST.
Recalls of fish products related to listeria concerns are not uncommon. In June, Banner Smoked Fish, Inc. of Brooklyn, New York expanded a recall of its smoked fish salads, picked fish products, and cream sauce products because they could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the FDA announced at the time. This recall was much wider than the Oregon Lox Company one, as the products were sold in 18 states. The FDA said the products were processed in unsanitary conditions. A full list of products affected by that recall can be found on the FDA's website.