Gorton’s Says Pills Found in Pennsylvania Fish Fillets Harmless

March 12, 2008

Gorton’s Inc. said Monday that the pills a Pennsylvania family reported finding in their fish fillets were harmless over-the-counter herbal supplements.

The incident remains an isolated case and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is leading the investigation, Gorton’s spokesman Jud Reis said.

The Gloucester, Mass.-based company recalled about 1,000 cases of its 6 Crispy Battered Fish Fillets in 11 states, and Reis said the voluntary recall has harmed the company’s business.

“It certainly has had some effect. The exact amount is difficult to ascertain,” he said.

Tracy Rowan, of New Freedom, called police Feb. 24 to report both she and her 9-year-old daughter discovered the pills in their mouths as they ate dinner. They and Rowan’s 10-year-old son were examined at a local hospital but were not sickened.

The fish fillets, purchased at a Giant store in Shrewsbury, were prepared by Rowan’s daughter. Rowan said the girl was adamant that she did not alter the food.

FDA spokesman Brad A. Swezey declined comment on the investigation into what he called “suspected tampering.”

A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Philadelphia, Jerri Williams, said Monday that agents were attempting to determine if a crime occurred.

“That’s part of the investigation – to look at how the pills got into the food product,” she said. “At this time, it’s an open investigation.”
Southern Regional Police Chief Jim Childs said federal investigators picked up evidence from his department more than a week ago and that his office was no longer involved.

Phone messages left Monday for Rowan, a health care company project manager, were not immediately returned.

The product is 11.4 ounces and bears a UPC Code of No. 4440015770, date code of 7289G1 and best-if-used-by date of April 2009. It was produced in October and distributed to stores in Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Gorton’s set up a consumer hot line for people who purchased the recalled fillets: (800) 896-9479.
On the Net:
Gorton’s Inc.: http://www.gortons.com/

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