Contaminated fermented fish seized ahead of spring celebrations
Photo of people eating fesikh, traditional fermented salty fish usually eaten during spring celebrations. Photo by Youm7

CAIRO: Hundreds of kilograms of incorrectly prepared fermented fish were seized Monday ahead of Sham el-Nessim (translating to “smell the breeze”) festival, where the traditional dish is eaten, according to Youm7.

The confiscations came as part of campaigns mounted by the supply police on markets to ensure the provision of supply items and monitor their prices in preparation for spring festival celebrations.

In Alexandria, a total of 1,050 kg of rotten fesikh (fermented salty fish,) ringa (salt cured herring, and sardines in Ezbet el-Mohagreen, were confiscated.

Seizures of tons of contaminated salty fish usually resurface as approaching the spring festival, which has been celebrated since ancient times in Egypt. A full meal consists of salted fish paired with raw onions and lettuce, and bread.

The national holiday is celebrated on the Monday after Easter; if falls this year on May 2.

The Ministry of Health has repeatedly warned of the “unsafe” preparation of the smelly dish, which is an indispensable tradition during spring celebrations, due to risks of botulism, which can be fatal or cause paralysis.

It has further advised anyone who experiences blurred vision, dry throat, muscle weakness and difficulty in swallowing and breathing to immediately head to the closest hospital or medical center to receive treatment within 24 hours.

Fesikh is traditionally prepared by letting the raw fish dry in the sun, and then is cured in salt and chili powder.

Egyptians have other traditions in celebrating Sham el-Nessim: coloring eggs, visiting parks and zoos, and eating a salted and smoked herring sold in air vacuumed packages called ringa.

The Cairo Post has previously published few tips to avoid food poisoning after eating fesikh, you can check the story here.

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