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Gorton’s says pills in fish fillets were harmless herbal supplements; probe continues

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, notified police last month after 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.

Phone messages left Monday for Rowan and for Anitra Brown Reed with the FDA’s Philadelphia office were not immediately returned.

The recalled 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.