Pilchards shoprite checkers

Photo: Flickr / Betty An

Pilchards recalled: If you’ve bought one of these tins, don’t eat the fish

There is something fishy about a number of tinned pilchards that were put on sale across South Africa this week. Here are the offending items to avoid.

Pilchards shoprite checkers

Photo: Flickr / Betty An

If you’ve been buying pilchards in the past week or so, then you may have to return the goods to whichever store you picked them up from. Both Shoprite and Checkers have issued urgent recalls for some variations of the product, after a “canning deficiency” in the Western Cape sparked panic amongst the food industry.

What pilchards have been recalled in South Africa?

The way some of these fishy foods have been sealed is causing a small-scale health risk. Officials have confirmed that the “bloated” cans might make some consumers ill. The mishapen containers may contain more carbon dioxide. There are no fatal consequences from eating these pilchards – but it could make you feel quite ill for a while.

So, what products need to be avoided?

  • The 400g pilchards in tomato sauce.
  • If these are from Shoprite, Checkers or OK House Brands, you must send them back to the store.
  • Saldhana and Cape Point branded 400g tins are also in line for a recall.
  • If your tinned items have either ZST2 or ZSC2 written on them near the sell-by date, they need to be returned. This can easily be checked by flipping the can over and reading the bottom.

Is it safe to eat pilchards in South Africa?

Meanwhile, West Point Processors have issued a statement on the matter. The distributors have conceded that some products will be “unfit for consumption”, but reassured South Africans that most tins have been held back.

“There is a small probablity that some of our products have a slight canning defiency which could make the item unfit for consumption. We are working to identify the issue and to ensure that the product meets the high standards our customers are used to. We apologise for this inconvenience.”

“While the bulk of the deficient cans have been isolated in our factory, it remains possible that some consumers could have purchased an affected batch. Products with the aforementioned codes must be returned to stores where they were bought from, in order to get a full refund.”

West Coast Procssors