FBI Probes How Herbal Pills Got in Recalled Fish Fillets

March 12, 2008

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is trying to find out how herbal supplements got into a family’s frozen fish dinner, a discovery that prompted a voluntary recall in 11 states.

An FBI spokeswoman in Philadelphia, Jerri Williams, said 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.”

Gorton’s Inc., the company that distributed the fish, said the pills were harmless over-the-counter herbal supplements. U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokesman Brad A. Swezey declined comment on the investigation into what he called “suspected tampering.”

The recall was prompted after Tracy Rowan, of New Freedom, Pa., 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 frozen fish fillets, purchased at a Giant store in Shrewsbury, Pa., were prepared by Rowan’s daughter. Rowan said the girl was adamant that she did not alter the food.

Gorton’s recalled about 1,000 cases of its 6 Crispy Battered Fish Fillets. Along with Pennsylvania, the fish was sent to 10 other states: Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The Gloucester, Mass.-based company said the fillets “may contain foreign material.”

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. Gorton’s set up a consumer hot line for people who purchased the recalled fillets: (800) 896-9479.

Gorton’s Inc.

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