FDA recalls scallops over fears of toxic contamination

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By Dan Sears

The Food and Drug Administration issued a recall for scallops sold by a Massachusetts-based seafood wholesaler, warning the tainted shellfish may contain toxins that cause food poisoning.

The recall applies to “whole, live scallops” from Intershell International Corp., which sells “only wild caught, all natural shellfish and seafood of the highest quality,” according to the Gloucester, Mass., company’s website.

The FDA’s recall issued earlier this week said that the contaminated scallops “were received from an unlicensed harvester, believed to be harvested from prohibited waters in Massachusetts and incorrectly labeled.”

“Scallops harvested from prohibited waters may be contaminated with human pathogens, toxic elements or poisonous or deleterious substances and can cause illness if consumed,” the regulator said.

The scallops in question had been sent to distributors and retailers across Massachusetts, as well as Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

They “may have been distributed further from these states,” the FDA warned.

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The agency was informed of the issue by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Jan. 5, with Intershell initiating a recall four days later.


Whole, live scallops distributed by Intershell International Corp. in Massachusetts are being recalled for potentially containing toxins that cause food poisioning.
Whole, live scallops distributed by Intershell International Corp. in Massachusetts are being recalled for potentially containing toxins that cause food poisioning. libin – stock.adobe.com

The FDA warned the tainted shellfish could cause food poising where symptoms include “diarrhea, stomach pain or cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever.”

“Symptoms may start within a few hours or may take a few days and can last for a few hours or several days,” the FDA said.

It noted that “scallops contaminated with pathogens may look, smell and taste normal” whether eaten raw or whole, or with viscera or roe attached.


The FDA advised restaurants that received the bad batch of shellfish to thoroughly clean and sanitize their food preparation areas and equipment to avoid any possible cross-contamination.
The FDA advised restaurants that received the bad batch of shellfish to thoroughly clean and sanitize their food preparation areas and equipment to avoid any possible cross-contamination. Sunanta – stock.adobe.com

The bad batch of scallops was incorrectly labeled as harvest location FED 514, per the FDA’s notice, with harvest dates Dec. 26, 2023; Dec. 27, 2023; and Jan. 1, 2024.

Restaurants and retailers that may have received the scallops were directed by the FDA to have workers thoroughly wash their hands and to thoroughly clean and sanitize their food preparation areas and equipment to avoid any possible cross-contamination.

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Representatives for Intershell did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

The FDA said it “will continue to monitor the investigation and provide assistance to state authorities as needed.”

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