Canadian Tenderized Beef To Get New Safe-Cooking Labels

HACCPCanada Certification - Be InformedAgriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says better labels are part of food safety action plan

CBC News

Posted: May 17, 2013 9:03 AM CST  

Federally registered meat plants will be required to put new safe-cooking labels on mechanically tenderized beefFederally registered meat plants will be required to put new labels on mechanically tenderized beef in order to make it safer for consumers, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says.

Speaking in Saskatoon Friday, Ritz said the new rules for tenderized beef, expected to go into effect over the next two months, is part of a wide-ranging food safety action plan.

The government wants consumers to know that mechanically tenderized beef — such as steaks and roasts — needs to be thoroughly cooked to eliminate any risk of E. coli.

In addition to federally registered meat plants, supermarkets are also being encouraged to use warning labels.

There’s a heightened risk because the needles in tenderizing equipment can push E. coli into the interior of the meat. Such meat has to be thoroughly cooked to kill the microbes.

Last fall, at least 16 Canadians became ill from E. coli, sparking a massive recall of beef that came from from an XL Foods meat plant in Brooks, AB.

Mechanical tenderizing was done at the XL plant, raising concerns at the time that stricter rules were required. However, an inquiry into the plant situation did not find that tenderizing was specifically a cause of the E. coli outbreak.

Ritz said the changes will help, but he can’t guarantee large-scale recalls will not happen again.

“Certainly no one wants to see a repeat of the major recalls we’ve seen in this country,” he said.

“Can we guarantee there’ll never be any more? No. Anybody who tells you you can is lying to you.”

Ritz made his announcement in a Saskatoon grocery store, accompanied by officials from Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency who deal with meat safety and microbial hazards.

He said CFIA is strengthening some of its beef safety rules, and has put in new mandatory rules to fight E. coli problems in federally registered beef plants.

HACCPCanada advocates and mandates HACCP System Certification; with an emphasis on providing Food Safety Confidence to the Consumer. We are a Certifying Body (an independent & impartial national organization which evaluates and verifies HACCP systems) and have succeeded in furnishing an economical, effective and expedient Certification Process for the Retail Food Supply Chain including Non-Registered Manufacturing, Warehousing, Logistics, Restaurants and Retail Food Outlets.

Contact us to achieve Certification from HACCPCanada, today!

 

Nova Scotia officials knew of E. coli outbreak 5 days before public

HACCPCanada Certification - Be Informed

 


The Canadian Press
By Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press – Mon, 25 Mar, 2013

HALIFAX – Public health officials in Nova Scotia knew they were dealing with an outbreak of E. coli five days before they informed the public about it in early January, documents obtained by The Canadian Press show.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief public health officer, fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009. Public health officials in Nova Scotia knew they were dealing with an outbreak of E. coli five days before they informed the public about it in early January, documents obtained by The Canadian Press show. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief public health officer…

The first indication that staff were aware of the E. coli 0157 outbreak appears in two emails sent by the province’s chief medical officer to staff with the Health Department and district health authorities on Dec. 31, 2012.

In one of the emails, Dr. Robert Strang says the Health Department was in the process of gathering more information about the outbreak and officials would meet on Jan. 2 to assess it.

Notes from that day’s meeting, which were released under access-to-information legislation, show that Health Department officials knew there were dealing with seven confirmed cases of E. coli 0157 affecting people ranging in age from 18 to 83.

Those notes also show that six of those people reported eating at fast food restaurants and they showed symptoms of the bacterial infection from Dec. 23-26, 2012. Officials were also aware of an E. coli outbreak of the same strain in New Brunswick but decided to delay notifying the public, the notes show.

“There have been no media calls yet. Until we know what the link is, we will provide standardized messaging,” the notes say.

“If NB is sending messaging out, we should be consistent. Delay 24 hours.”

It wasn’t until Jan. 4 that the department issued a news release confirming it was investigating the cases, two of which required hospital admission. No one died.

In an interview, Strang said he doesn’t believe Health Department officials tried to withhold information from the public. Instead, he said they needed to gather more information from the people who contracted the infection.

“The judgment was that we needed to wait at least 24 hours … so we have something concrete that we can say to the public,” Strang said.

“What do you say publicly without doing unnecessary harm or creating unnecessary anxiety? So we’d respond if questions came to us, but we didn’t feel we were ready yet to go proactively because we didn’t have enough of the detail.”

New Brunswick’s Health Department went public with its outbreak of E. coli on Jan. 3, prompting calls to Nova Scotia’s Health Department that day from the news media, the documents show.

Strang said New Brunswick’s chief medical officer was able to tell the public a day earlier because that province’s outbreak occurred a few days before the one in Nova Scotia.

He said he was first alerted by the on-call medical officer of health to reports of a few cases of E. coli over the weekend of Dec. 29 and 30.

“With the information I had, I wasn’t concerned enough to bring people in on New Year’s Day,” he said. “My judgment was that it could certainly wait until the next working day.”

Liberal health critic Leo Glavine said the province needs a more robust process to ensure timely disclosure of public health matters, such as the E. coli outbreak.

Glavine said because the strain of the bacteria is potentially fatal, Strang should have issued an alert earlier.

“I think within 24 hours, if the medical officer knows, he should be sending this information out to the public, he said.

The strain of E. coli was the same one found in the Walkerton, Ont., water disaster in 2000 that killed seven people.

Strang said the E. coli outbreak would have been treated differently if there had been an indication of ongoing sickness due to the bacteria.

“If we had a sense that there was an ongoing risk to the public, we would have been communicating that right away,” said Strang.

The outbreak, which was also detected in Ontario, was later traced to shredded lettuce distributed by FreshPoint Inc. to KFC and Taco Bell restaurants.

HACCPCanada advocates and mandates HACCP System Certification; with an emphasis on providing Food Safety Confidence to the Consumer. We are a Third-Party Auditor and a Certifying Body (an independent & impartial national organization which evaluates and verifies HACCP systems) and have succeeded in furnishing an economical, effective and expedient Certification Process for the Retail Food Supply Chain including Non-Registered Manufacturing, Warehousing, Logistics, Restaurants and Retail Food Outlets.

Contact us to achieve Certification from HACCPCanada, today!

 

Public Health Agency of Canada Declares End to Lettuce Related E. coli Outbreak

HACCPCanada Certification - Be Informed

 

HACCPCanada advocates and mandates HACCP System Certification; with an emphasis on providing Food Safety Confidence to the Consumer. We are a Third-Party Auditor and a Certifying Body (an independent & impartial national organization which evaluates and verifies HACCP systems) and have succeeded in furnishing an economical, effective and expedient Certification Process for the Retail Food Supply Chain including Non-Registered Manufacturing, Warehousing, Logistics, Restaurants and Retail Food Outlets.

Contact us to achieve Certification from HACCPCanada, today!

Public Health Notice: E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in the Maritimes and Ontario

Updated: 7 February 2013

Why you should take note

This outbreak appears to be over.

In total, 30 cases of illness were reported in the Maritimes and Ontario as part of this outbreak. The last reported case became ill on January 9, 2013; no new cases of illness have been reported since.

The investigation indicated that the most probable cause of the E. coli O157:H7 illnesses was shredded lettuce distributed by FreshPoint Inc. primarily to some KFC and KFC-Taco Bell restaurants.

Lettuce has a short shelf life, therefore contaminated products are unlikely to still be available and the risk to the Canadians remains low.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) worked with FreshPoint Inc. to recallExternal Link any affected products.

The Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with provincial/territorial partners, will continue to monitor for and investigate any new cases of E.coli that may be related to this outbreak as part of its routine surveillance activities.

Status

Investigations into outbreaks of food-borne illness can be complex. Since early January 2013, the Agency has been leading a committee to investigate these illnesses that includes public health and food safety experts from the CFIA, Health Canada and Provincial Health Authorities. The committee meets regularly to share and review the latest information and determine what actions should be taken to protect Canadians.

The Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and provincial health and food safety authorities will continue their investigation to determine if additional action is required to protect Canadians.

More information about the epidemiological investigation is also available.

Province / Territory Total cases
New Brunswick 7
Nova Scotia 10
Ontario 13
Total 30

E. coli O157 food-borne illnesses are not uncommon in Canada. In recent years, an average of about 440 cases of this type of E. coli infection was reported annually in Canada.

What you should do

Most strains of E. coli are harmless; however, some strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, can make people sick, causing severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Serious complications of an E. coli O157:H7 infection can include kidney failure.

If you think you are sick with an E. coli infection, consult a healthcare professional.

 

 

Butcher’s Choice Outbreak Investigation Concludes

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HACCPCanada advocates and mandates HACCP System Certification; with an emphasis on providing Food Safety Confidence to the Consumer. We are a Third-Party Auditor and a Certifying Body (an independent & impartial national organization which evaluates and verifies HACCP systems) and have succeeded in furnishing an economical, effective and expedient Certification Process for the Retail Food Supply Chain including Non-Registered Manufacturing, Warehousing, Logistics, Restaurants and Retail Food Outlets.

Contact us to achieve Certification from HACCPCanada, today!

 

Public Health Agency of Canada

Public Health Notice: E. coli O157:H7 illness related to frozen beef burgers

Updated: 25 January 2013

Why you should take note

The investigation into the E. coli O157:H7 illnesses associated with frozen beef burgers has been concluded.

The risk to Canadians remains low because all products found to be contaminated were recalled from store shelves last month.

In total, 5 cases were confirmed to be part of this outbreak; 3 in Ontario and 2 in Alberta.

The investigation confirmed the source of this outbreak to be Butcher’s Choice Garlic Peppercorn frozen beef burgers. It remains important that Canadians not eat any of the recalled beef productsExternal Link. Check your freezer and if you have recalled products in your home, return them to the store, or throw them out.

The Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with provincial/territorial partners, will continue to monitor for and investigate any new cases of E. coli that may be related to this outbreak as part of its routine surveillance activities.

Status

Investigations into outbreaks of food-borne illness can be complex. Since early December 2012, the Agency has been leading a committee that includes public health and food safety experts from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada and Provincial and Territorial Health Authorities. The committee meets regularly to share and review the latest information and determine what actions should be taken to protect Canadians.

Based on all the information collected to date – epidemiological, microbiological and food safety – the following cases of illness are linked to the specific strain of E. coli O157 found in the recalled frozen beef burgers. More information about the epidemiological investigation is also available.

Province / Territory Total confirmed cases
  Alberta 2
  Ontario 3
  Total 5

Over the course of the investigation, an additional reported case of E. coli O157:H7 illness was found to have the same strain of E. coli as one found in a recalled product. However, the case could not be definitively linked to the outbreak associated with this investigation because there was not enough food history information available to connect the individual with the contaminated product. This individual died in early December as a result of the illness.

More information about products that have been recalledExternal Linkand how that aspect of the investigation has unfolded, is available on the CFIA websiteExternal Link.

E. coli O157 food-borne illnesses are not uncommon in Canada and no unusual increases in the number of these illnesses have been detected nationally.

KFC-Taco Bell E. coli Contaminated Lettuce Confirmed Cases Reaches 30

Public Health Notice: E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in the Maritimes and Ontario

Updated: 18 January 2013

Why you should take note

 

Since our last update, 1 additional case of E. coli O157:H7 illness was confirmed in New Brunswick as part of this outbreak. This brings the total number of cases to 30. These individuals became ill between late December and early January.

The latest evidence in the Public Health Agency of Canada’s food-borne illness investigation indicates that the most probable cause of the E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in the Maritimes and Ontario is shredded lettuce distributed by FreshPoint Inc. primarily to some KFC and KFC-Taco Bell restaurants. The products were not distributed to grocery stores.

Lettuce has a short shelf life, therefore contaminated products are unlikely to still be available.

As a precaution, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is working with FreshPoint Inc. to recall any remaining affected products. At this point, the source of contamination for the shredded lettuce has not been determined. The CFIA has traced the lettuce to its origin in California and has notified U.S. authorities of this finding. The CFIAis verifying that appropriate food safety controls were followed at each step of production, processing and distribution. Immediate action will be taken to ensure that any unsafe food is removed from the marketplace.

The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to lead the coordination of the investigation into this outbreak in close collaboration with its health and food safety partners. There are 7 cases in New Brunswick, 10 in Nova Scotia and 13 in Ontario. The majority of cases have recovered or are recovering. Additional cases of illness may be identified and linked to this outbreak in the future.

Products contaminated with E. coli O157 can pose a serious public health risk.

Status

Investigations into outbreaks of food-borne illness can be complex. Since early January 2013, the Agency has been leading a committee to investigate these illnesses that includes public health and food safety experts from the CFIA, Health Canada and Provincial Health Authorities. The committee meets regularly to share and review the latest information and determine what actions should be taken to protect Canadians.

The Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and provincial health and food safety authorities will continue their investigation to determine if additional action is required to protect Canadians.

More information about the epidemiological investigation is also available.

 

Province / Territory Total confirmed cases
New Brunswick 7
Nova Scotia 10
Ontario 13
Total 30

E. coli O157 food-borne illnesses are not uncommon in Canada. In recent years, an average of about 440 cases of this type of E. coli infection was reported annually in Canada.

What you should do

Most strains of E. coli are harmless; however, some strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, can make people sick, causing severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Serious complications of an E. coli O157:H7 infection can include kidney failure.

If you think you are sick with an E. coli infection, consult a healthcare professional.

Symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection

Like other foodborne illnesses, the symptoms of E. coli infection mainly involve the gut. Symptoms may vary from person to person; however, they often include:

  • severe stomach cramps;
  • diarrhea (often watery and may develop into bloody);
  • vomiting; and
  • fever (generally not very high – usually less than 38.5˚C/101˚F).

Symptoms usually last five to seven days.

Overall, around 5 to 10 per cent of those who get sick from E. coli O157:H7 develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), an acute renal failure which can be fatal.  Of those, children younger than 5 years old and the elderly are at greatest risk of developing HUS. Symptoms of HUS vary. Some people have seizures or strokes and some need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis. Others live with side effects such as permanent kidney damage.

Who is most at risk?

Infections can occur among people of all ages, however symptoms are likely to be more severe among the very young and the elderly. Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are also at high risk of developing serious complications.

How to protect yourself

Proper hygiene and safe food handling and preparation practices are key to preventing the spread of all foodborne illnesses, including E. coli.

Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of foodborne illness.

Contaminated foods may look and smell normal. It is important to ensure that you wash your fruits and vegetables before eating them, and cook meat to a safe internal temperature.

E. coli source likely lettuce at KFC/Taco Bell

Product recalled, no new cases expected, health officials say

CBC News

Posted: Jan 11, 2013 4:57 PM AT

The source of a potentially deadly strain of E. coli in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario was likely lettuce served at KFC/Taco Bell outlets, health officials say.

All suspect lettuce has been recalled, they said Friday afternoon.

“The evidence from our collaborative investigation leads us to believe that the common food source was distributed to this fast-food restaurant chain,” said Dr. Frank Atherton, Nova Scotia’s deputy chief medical officer of health.

“Lettuce has a limited shelf life, and we have not seen a new case in more than a week. This tells us it is highly unlikely the food item remains in the food chain. As an added precaution, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is issuing a recall of the lettuce products.”

He added that the fault did not lie with the restaurants, but with FreshPoint, the company that supplied the lettuce.

No new cases of E. coli O157 are expected, officials said.

Nova Scotia has had 10 confirmed cases of E. coli O157 in the past couple of weeks. At least five are linked to the outbreak.

New Brunswick has also had six confirmed cases, while Ontario has had five. All of the patients have been treated and are recovering, Atherton said.

Dr. Eilish Cleary, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer, said it was hard to pin down the particular outlet. The lettuce was distributed to other fast-food chains, but the cases were all linked to Taco Bell/KFC.

“When we looked at the food history of our patients, they had eaten at several locations, so we were unable to pinpoint exactly which ones they were exposed at,” she said.

Sabir Sami, president of KFC/Taco Bell parent company Yum Restaurants, said his company takes the developments seriously.

“We’re obviously concerned, as this lettuce provided to us by FreshPoint has been distributed to many area restaurants in Canada, including ours,” he said in a news release.

“We have removed all the affected lettuce from our restaurants in Canada and want to reassure our customers that our food is perfectly safe to eat. The health and safety of our customers is our top priority.”

E. coli O157 is the same strain that killed seven people in Walkerton, Ont., in 2000. It secretes a powerful toxin that can cause severe illness, high blood pressure and kidney damage.

Romaine lettuce was determined to be the likely source of an E. coli outbreak in Miramichi., N.B., in April. At least 13 people in the northern New Brunswick city were infected with that strain of E. coli O157, while another 11 people may have also been infected with that strain, officials said at the time.

 

E. coli Outbreak Proves Illusive…16 Cases Now Confirmed

Public Health Notice: E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in Atlantic Canada and Ontario

Updated: 9 January 2013

Why you should take note

 

Today, an additional case of E.coli O157:H7 was confirmed in Ontario as part of this outbreak. This brings Ontario’s number of cases to 5 and the total to 16.

Products contaminated with E. coli O157 can pose a serious public health risk.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has been working with its health and food safety partners on an investigation into 16 cases of E. coli O157:H7 illness. There are six cases in New Brunswick, five in Nova Scotia and five in Ontario. The majority of cases have recovered or are recovering.

Status

Investigations into outbreaks of food-borne illness can be complex. Since early January 2013, the Agency has been leading a committee to investigate these illnesses that includes public health and food safety experts from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada and Provincial Health Authorities. The committee meets regularly to share and review the latest information and determine what actions should be taken to protect Canadians.

Based on the ongoing epidemiological and microbiological investigations conducted to date, it is likely that the people involved all got sick from the same source. More information about the epidemiological investigation is also available.

We don’t know what the source of the illness is, but that investigation is continuing.

Province / Territory Total confirmed cases
New Brunswick 6
Nova Scotia 5
Ontario 5
Total 16

E. coli O157 food-borne illnesses are not uncommon in Canada. In recent years, an average of about 440 cases of this type of E. coli infection was reported annually in Canada.

What you should do

Most strains of E. coli are harmless; however, some strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, can make people sick, causing severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Serious complications of an E. coli O157:H7 infection can include kidney failure.

If you think you are sick with an E. coli infection, consult a healthcare professional.

Symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection

Like other foodborne illnesses, the symptoms of E. coli infection mainly involve the gut. Symptoms may vary from person to person; however, they often include:

  • severe stomach cramps;
  • diarrhea (often watery and may develop into bloody);
  • vomiting; and
  • fever (generally not very high – usually less than 38.5˚C/101˚F).

Symptoms usually last five to seven days.

Around 5 to 10 per cent of those who get sick from E. coli O157:H7 overall and about 15 per cent of young children and the elderly develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can be fatal. Symptoms of HUS vary. Some people have seizures or strokes and some need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis. Others live with side effects such as permanent kidney damage.

CBC News: XL Foods warned 6 times over lapses before E. coli outbreak

Correction Action Requests issued at Alberta plant for sanitation, contamination

CBC News

Posted: Jan 8, 2013 10:56 AM ET

Cattle in pasture beside XL Foods' Lakeside Packers plant at Brooks, Alta., on Oct. 1. Reports from CFIA inspectors that were released under Access to Information show the plant was reprimanded six times in the months leading up to an E. coli outbreak last summer.Cattle in pasture beside XL Foods’ Lakeside Packers plant at Brooks, Alta., on Oct. 1. Reports from CFIA inspectors that were released under Access to Information show the plant was reprimanded six times in the months leading up to an E. coli outbreak last summer. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

An Alberta meat-processing plant at the centre of Canada’s largest beef recall was ordered to address serious problems six times in the months leading up to an E. coli outbreak last summer, documents obtained by CBC News show.

The issues identified by Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors at the Brooks plant, known as Establishment 38, included:

  • Failure to sanitize cutting tools and workspaces.
  • Improper labelling.
  • Mixing of edible and inedible parts of carcasses.
  • Lapses in building maintenance that saw condensation from pipes dripping onto carcasses.

The details are contained in six Corrective Action Requests (CARs) and followup reports obtained by CBC News under Access to Information requests.

The XL Foods plant’s licence was suspended on Sept. 27 because of concerns about E. coli contamination and deficiencies identified by the CFIA at the facility.

The suspension came weeks after an alert was issued by U.S. inspectors who discovered the presence of E. coli in a shipment of beef from XL Foods. At least 18 people were made ill from meat traced to the plant, and a recall expanded to more than 1,500 products while tonnes of beef from the plant had to be destroyed.

CARs are issued by CFIA inspectors in a plant when a formal response is required from the company “to ensure changes that are needed to be taken to allow the facility to be in compliance with the various federal acts and regulations are completed,” according to the CFIA.

An in-depth investigation carried out after the detection of E. coli in September resulted in six more CARs being issued and completed before the plant was allowed to open in late October.

But the CARs released Monday show problems had been identified at the plant months earlier.

A CAR issued on Feb. 14 cited improper building maintenance, including a blast freezer door that did not properly close, exposed insulation, a missing seal on a washroom door and other violations, while also noting that earlier work orders issued to fix some of the problems had not been carried out. A month later, following an extension, a followup report found the issues had been addressed. The serial number for this CAR suggests the concerns dated to 2011.

5 more CARs issued

After that, starting in May, five more CARs were issued, mostly due to violations of sanitation and operational procedures. These included:

  • A May 5 inspection that found “cows and bulls dragging on equipment wash platform” in around the pre-break room, improper sanitation of the saw used to cut the necks of the animals, “necks and shanks” pulled over buckets of inedible byproducts, use of unlabelled sanitary spray bottles and contamination of carcasses. Followup inspections found continued problems.
  • A June 7 inspection that found poor monitoring of product labelling, and missing labels and paperwork for pallets and boxes of meat.
  • A June 26 inspection that found workers were not properly washing cutting tools and hooks while cutting carcasses, and not cleaning contaminated carcasses before cutting them. The report says production was stopped for three minutes while “team members were removed and retrained before continuing.” Another employee who was not sanitizing a knife between cuts through a hide was “removed and replaced.”
  • An Aug. 7 CAR reporting production was stopped for 35 minutes and 315 carcasses held back “for water dripping on carcasses” in the carcass-cooling room from “condensation formed and dripping from rails, pipes, refer drip pans and structure.” In a followup inspection three days later, the CFIA inspector identified “plastic (sic) overflowing with unsanitary water and condensation dripping from rails/structures” in the killing room, and “initiated action to hold 765 carcasses from start of production until time of incident.”
  • An Aug. 20 inspection that raised concerns about employees’ sanitation practices and sanitary conditions on cutting tools, computers, cutting boards, trim stations and floor areas.

CARs were ‘effectively addressed,’ CFIA says

The CFIA reports list both immediate actions taken by inspectors and followup plans to meet the corrective actions.

The followup reports indicate each of the CARs were closed within a week to five weeks of the orders being issued, and most involved retraining and interviewing of employees to ensure they understood proper sanitation and operational procedures.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the CFIA said “all of these CARs were effectively addressed by the company and were closed within the time-frame required by the CFIA.”

“CFIA inspectors are in constant communication with plant management throughout the production day at federally registered meat establishments. When an inspector observes a potential issue of concern, they inform plant management,” the statement said.

The XL Foods plant was allowed to reopen Oct. 23 under enhanced surveillance and increased testing protocols, with more than 46 CFIA inspectors assigned to monitor slaughter procedures.

JBS, the company that runs the XL Foods plant, said it had no comment because these issues came up before it took over the management of the plant in mid-October.

Looking over the documents, beef expert Ted Haney said he isn’t surprised.

“There’s no such thing as zero risk, there’s no such thing as perfection,” he said. “It was reported, which is good, which means it was acted upon.”

CFIA – Corrective Action Requests XL Foods

 

E. coli Outbreak in the Maritimes

E. coli in Saint John and Fredericton linked, tests show

At least 2 of 5 cases are connected, but source unknown

CBC News

Posted: Jan 4, 2013 1:57 PM AT

Dr. Eilish Cleary says at least some of the five New Brunswickers affected ate at restaurants during the past two weeks.
Dr. Eilish Cleary says at least some of the five New Brunswickers affected ate at restaurants during the past two weeks. (CBC)

 

 

At least two of five cases of a potentially deadly strain of E. coli in New Brunswick are linked, the province’s chief medical officer of health has confirmed.

Dr. Eilish Cleary says she received preliminary test results on Friday morning that show a case in Saint John and a case in Fredericton have a very similar pattern of E. coli O157 and are therefore considered linked.

Officials are still trying to determine the source and whether there is any link to a recent outbreak in Nova Scotia, she said.

There have been two cases of E. coli O157 confirmed in the Saint John region and three in the Fredericton area.

All five patients were seen in hospital emergency rooms, but only one had to be admitted to hospital, said Cleary.

The affected people are between the ages of 18 and 39 and likely contracted the bacteria over the holidays, she said.

“We know that many of them, if not all of them, have visited a number of restaurants in the past two weeks and so we will be having inspectors visit those restaurants to make sure that their food preparation is up to scratch,” Cleary said.

How to prevent spread of E. coli

  • Wash, peel raw vegetables and fruit.
  • Cook meat properly.
  • Wash hands and surfaces after handling raw meat.
  • Consume only pasteurized dairy products.

Nova Scotia had seven confirmed cases of E. coli O157 over the holidays — three in the Halifax region, two in Antigonish and one each in Truro and Stellarton.

Two people were hospitalized, including one suffering from kidney failure, officials have said.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief public health officer, said it’s possible the source is a food item sold in both Maritime provinces.

E. coli O157 is the same strain that killed seven people in Walkerton, Ont., in 2000.

It also led to the biggest beef recall in Canadian history last fall. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recalled more than 1,500 beef products that were packed at XL Foods, a meat processing plant in Brooks, Alta.

E. coli O157 also put two Fredericton teenagers in hospital in July, while an outbreak in Miramichi in April hospitalized at least 13 people.

This particular strain of E. coli secretes a powerful toxin that can destroy red blood cells, leading to severe illness, high blood pressure and kidney damage.

Symptoms of E. coli O157 resemble gastrointestinal illness, such as severe cramps, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting.

 

Cause of Cardinal Meat Specialists Recall Still Unknown

Source of E. coli O157:H7 in Cardinal’s Burgers Not Found

BY NEWS DESK | DECEMBER 25, 2012

The source of the E. coli O157:H7 that contaminated specialty hamburgers made by Cardinal Meat Specialists Limited in Ontario is going to remain a mystery, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) acknowledged Monday.

CFIA’s official investigation into the foreign and domestic beef used by Cardinal Meat, along with all the spices used as ingredients in the hamburgers has now ended without producing any evidence to identify a source of the contamination.

The beef products from the Cardinal Meat Specialists’ plant at Brampton, Ontario that were recalled for E. coli O157:H7 contamination included: Butcher’s Choice Garlic Peppercorn, Butcher’s Choice Hickory Barbecue, and Cardinal Select Prime Rib Beef burgers.

Canadian health officials earlier connected the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria found on samples one day’s production from the Cardinal plant with three E. coli illnesses in Ontario and two in Alberta.  In a statement, CFIA said investigators pursued all avenues of inquiry, including:

  • Assessing production, inspection and testing records;
  • Reviewing plant food safety procedures; and
  • Conducting additional testing on burger ingredients.

CFIA on Dec. 21 eliminated foreign beef sources, in Australia and New Zealand, as the cause of contaminate. There haven’t been any reported cases of illness with the same E. coli O157:H7 genetic fingerprint outside of Canada.

The CFIA has now confirmed that all available domestic beef ingredient products have also tested negative for E. coli O157:H7. As all lines of inquiry have been exhausted, CFIA said its investigation will not progress further. A detailed report of the investigation will be posted on the CFIA’s website in the coming weeks.

The Cardinal beef products were recalled between Dec. 12 and Dec. 15, 2012. CFIA said it will continue to work with local public health authorities to monitor any further illnesses that might be reported

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