HARRISBURG, Pa. – Gorton's Inc. recalled about 1,000 cases of frozen fish in 10 states on Friday after confirming items a Pennsylvania woman reported finding in her food were pills.
Gorton's voluntarily recalled the product as a precaution while a laboratory conducts further tests to determine the nature of the pills. The results are expected early next week.
"Obviously, product alteration is a very serious matter," said Jud Reis, vice president of marketing for the Gloucester, Mass.-based company. "We are conducting a full investigation into the source of the problem."
Tracy Rowan, of New Freedom, called police after she bit into one of the pills Sunday about the same time her daughter realized one was in her fish, too. On Friday, Reis said the material was some sort of pill, not compressed batter or bread crumbs as suspected.
"It's kind of frightening to not only find something in your mouth, a foreign object," Rowan said Friday. "But then basically my heart stopped when my daughter said, 'I have one in my mouth, too,' and pulled it out." She described them as beige and aspirin-sized.
Rowan, her daughter and son spent about 3 1/2 hours getting checked out in an emergency room. None of them has gotten sick, and Reis said the company knows of no other incidents.
Rowan's 9-year-old daughter cooked and served the food, and they had eaten more than half of their fillets when they encountered the pills. Her 10-year-old son reported tasting something bitter and spit it out, but it's unclear whether that also was a pill, she said.
Rowan said her daughter was adamant that she did not alter the fillets and that the pills found inside do not match any medicine in her home. The fish was purchased from a Giant supermarket in Shrewsbury.
"Kids are kids, but I went through here and I don't have a single thing that matches that," said Rowan, 47, a health care company project manager.
The recall is for Gorton's 6 Crispy Battered Fish Fillets, 11.4 ounces. The UPC Code is No. 44400157770, with a date code of 7289G1 and best-if-used-by date of April 2009.
The fish was sent to nine other states: Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Reis said the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration were investigating.
Consumers who purchased the fish can call Gorton's at (800) 896-9479.