E. Coli Outbreak Reaches 8 Confirmed Cases

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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.

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

Updated: 27 February 2013

Why you should take note

Since our last update, an additional case of E. coli O157:H7 illness in Saskatchewan has been confirmed as part of this outbreak investigation. This brings the total number of cases to eight: four in Ontario, two in Alberta, one in Manitoba and one in Saskatchewan. These individuals became ill between late December and mid-February. All cases have recovered or are recovering.

The most recent case is linked to recalled Gourmet Meat Shoppe Big and Juicy frozen beef burgers.

The risk to Canadians remains low because all products found to be contaminated were recalled from store shelves. It remains important that Canadians not eat any of the recalled beef products. Check your freezer and if you have recalled products in your home, return them to the store or throw them out.

Products contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 can pose a serious public health risk. We want to remind Canadians to take precautions to avoid food-borne illness, for example:

  • Cook meat to a safe internal temperature—use a food thermometer to be sure;
    • Thick burgers like the ones recalled need to be cooked longer than regular sized ones to be sure they’re safe.
  • Wash your hands before and after cooking;
  • Keep knives, counters and cutting boards clean;
  • Keep raw meats separate from other foods when you store them; and
  • Refrigerate or freeze left-overs promptly.

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.

Additional cases of illness may be identified and linked to this outbreak in the future.

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 cases
  Alberta 2
  Ontario 4
  Manitoba 1
  Saskatchewan 1
  Total 8

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 recalledand how that aspect of the investigation has unfolded, is available on the CFIA website.

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.

 

 

E. coli In Frozen Burger Patties Now At 7 Confirmed Cases

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 illness related to frozen beef burgers

Public Health Agency of Canada

Updated: 22 February 2013

Why you should take note

Through ongoing monitoring and surveillance activities, two additional cases of E. coli O157:H7 illness have been confirmed as part of this outbreak investigation; one in Manitoba and one in Ontario. This brings the total number of cases to seven: four in Ontario, two in Alberta and one in Manitoba. These individuals became ill between late December and late January. All cases have recovered or are recovering.

The two most recent cases are linked to recalled Gourmet Meat Shoppe Big and Juicy frozen beef burgers.

The risk to Canadians remains low because all products found to be contaminated were recalled from store shelves. It remains important that Canadians not eat any of the recalled beef products. Check your freezer and if you have recalled products in your home, return them to the store or throw them out.

Products contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 can pose a serious public health risk. We want to remind Canadians to take precautions to avoid food-borne illness, for example:

  • Cook meat to a safe internal temperature—use a food thermometer to be sure;
    • Thick burgers like the ones recalled need to be cooked longer than regular sized ones to be sure they’re safe.
  • Wash your hands before and after cooking;
  • Keep knives, counters and cutting boards clean;
  • Keep raw meats separate from other foods when you store them; and
  • Refrigerate or freeze left-overs promptly.

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.

Additional cases of illness may be identified and linked to this outbreak in the future.

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 cases
  Alberta 2
  Ontario 4
  Manitoba 1
  Total 7

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 recalled and how that aspect of the investigation has unfolded, is available on the CFIA website.

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.

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 O157:H7 infection, consult a healthcare professional.

Symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection

Like other food-borne 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 food-borne 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 thoroughly cook foods to destroy bacteria. Recalled products, however, should not be consumed and should be thrown away.

 

CFIA Issues Statement On Safeway/Cardinal Meat Specialists Investigation

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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!

CFIA investigation into possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination

February 20, 2013 – Late yesterday evening, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that Canada Safeway Ltd. recalled a range of products because of possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

The health and safety of Canadians is the top priority of the CFIA. An investigation is under way at the producing facility, Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd., to examine how the burgers may have become contaminated. Our focus is two pronged: verifying that appropriate E. coli controls were applied in the facility and tracing all ingredients, which include domestic and international inputs, used in the recalled burgers. As our work progresses, additional products may be recalled.

This past December, the CFIA conducted a separate E. coli investigation after a different brand of burgers produced by Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd. was recalled. At this point, work is underway to assess if and how these two situations may be linked. It’s important to note that Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd. is one of the largest producers of frozen burger patties in Canada, sourcing ingredients from a variety of other suppliers. Therefore, its involvement in a recall of frozen burgers does not necessarily signal a problem in the Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd. facility itself.

Last evening’s recall stems from samples of burgers taken from retail stores in response to the investigation of two cases of E. coli illness. The CFIA was informed of these cases on February 13 and based on the food histories of the people that became sick, we immediately began collecting samples of burgers from retail stores in Ontario and Western Canada for testing. The recall was initiated after our testing returned positive results for E. coli O157:H7. As a responsible precaution, Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd. decided to recall all products produced on the same line and the same day as the burgers that tested positive. We are still awaiting test results to determine if the cases of illnesses are linked to the recalled burgers.

Industry has controls in place to manage E. coli at multiple points in the slaughter and processing process and we know that the incident of E. coli illnesses continues to decline. However, even in a well-functioning food safety system such as Canada’s, the presence of bacteria in raw products cannot be completely eliminated. Therefore, it is critical that consumers properly handle and prepare raw ground beef products. In particular, consumers must ensure that hamburger patties are cooked to at least 71°C all the way through. When preparing thicker patties, which are common today, additional cooking time is required, especially when patties are cooked from frozen. To be certain, consumers should use a meat thermometer. As well, consumers can prevent contamination of other foods by ensuring that cooking surfaces and utensils are well cleaned with soap and water after coming into contact with raw beef.

The CFIA remains committed to providing information on this investigation as it becomes available.

 

XL Foods Lawsuit Grows

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Bad beef lawsuit against XL Foods expands

CBC News

Posted: Feb 15, 2013 1:56 PM MT

The lawsuit, launched after at least 18 people became ill after eating tainted beef, asks for $17 million from the company.The lawsuit, launched after at least 18 people became ill after eating tainted beef, asks for $17 million from the company. (CBC News)
There are now 75 people from across the country who have joined a $17-million class-action lawsuit against the company that was behind Canada’s largest beef recall.

Last fall, at least 18 cases of illness from E. coli contamination were linked to tainted beef that came from the plant in Brooks, Alta.

The suit was launched in October by an Edmonton man, Matthew Harrison, who got sick after eating the tainted beef at a friend’s home in September.

The lawsuit, which has been picked up by an Edmonton law firm, is now asking for $17 million in damages for emotional and physical trauma, loss of income and other expenses by plaintiffs.

The lawsuit alleges that the XL plant knew of poor quality control and concealed that information from consumers and regulators.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Lawyers are expected to appear before the court on the matter in October.

 

Last of Canada’s E. coli Tainted Lettuce Victims Discharged From Hospital

Blogheader-page0001HACCPCanada 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.

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Food Safety News:  Last of Canada’s E. coli Victims Discharged From Hospital

BY DAN FLYNN | JANUARY 28, 2013
Not a single E. coli O157:H7 outbreak can be considered a good one, but when everyone recovers it is about as good as it gets. And that’s how Canada’s January E. coli outbreak –sourced to California lettuce– is ending.“The last patient was discharged,” John Gillis, media relations advisor for the Capital Health District Authority in Nova Scotia, told Food Safety News.Last discharged was the one Nova Scotia patient out of the 30 E. coli victims in three provinces who also developed the kidney threatening Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). In addition to that patient, a dozen other E. coli victims were hospitalized across Ontario and the Maritimes.

Canada’s lettuce-caused E. coli outbreak first surfaced on New Year’s Eve–Dec. 31, 2012–in New Brunswick. In the next 16 days, a total of 30 E. coli illnesses were confirmed; 7 in New Brunswick, 10 in Nova Scotia, and 13 in Ontario.

Canada usually reports about 440 cases of E. coli O157:H7 annually.

Also within the first week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) was investigating an Ontario-based distributor called Freshpoint. And two days later, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) found through its epidemiological assessment that the likely source of the outbreak was lettuce the victims consumed at KFC and Taco Bell restaurants.

The last onset of illness, among the victims,  was on Jan. 9. They ranged in age from  1-83, and  half were male and half were female.

KFC and Taco Bell, units of the fast food giant Yum! Brands got their lettuce from Freshpoint. On Jan. 10, Freshpoint initiated a recall of the lettuce its distributed to KFC and Taco Bell, quickly expanded to include other restaurants and institutions it served.

By Jan. 12, CFIA says it’s unlikely given the shelf life of lettuce that any of the contaminated products remains in circulation.

CFIA has traced the lettuce to California, from a grower involved in the Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (LGMA). Food Safety News has learned that the CFIA investigation  is focused on a brand from a company on the central coast of California. It’s a brand that may involve multiple growers and CFIA is not yet ready to name names.

California’s LGMA is safety program developed by the state’s growers and their buyers to prevent product contamination. It involves private auditors and public inspections by the State of California.
Many of the LGMA practices–developed after the 2006 spinach outbreak of E. coli– are included in the new produce rule published for comment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act.

© Food Safety News

Butcher’s Choice Outbreak Investigation Concludes

Blogheader-page0001

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.

Updated Lettuce Recall List

Reference Number: 7688
Recalling Firm: FRESHPOINT TORONTO
Date of Recall: 1/13/2013
Recall Classification: 1
Distribution : New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec
Extent of the Product Distribution : Hotel/Restaurant/Institutional

Product List

Brand Name Common Name Size Codes(s) on Product UPC Reason for Recall:
SYSCO COMBO SEPARATE SALAD 1 x 5lb With a Use By date of January 8, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5221, 5231, and 5241 None / Aucun Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO CHOP LETTUCE ICEBERG 5 x 4lb With a Use By date of January 8, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5221, 5231, and 5241 10074865394076 Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO SALAD MIX HARMONY 5 x 4lb With a Use By date of January 8, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5221, 5231, and 5241 10883278074582 Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO 1/4″ SHRED LETTUCE ICEBERG 4 x 2lb With a Use By date of January 8, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5221, 5231, and 5241 None / Aucun Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO CHEF SALAD MIX 5 x 4lb With a Use By date of January 8, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5221, 5231, and 5241 None / Aucun Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO ARAMARK MIXED VEGETABLE PACK 1 x 1lb With a Use By date of January 8, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5221, 5231, and 5241 None / Aucun Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO CHOP LETTUCE ICEBERG 1 x 5lb With a Use By date of January 8, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5221, 5231, and 5241 None / Aucun Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO 1/8″ SHRED LETTUCE ICEBERG 5 x 4lb With a Use By date of January 8, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5221, 5231, and 5241 10074865178676 Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO CHOP SALAD MIX 50/50 2 x 5lb With a Use By date of January 8, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5221, 5231, and 5241 10883278081462 Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
BURGER KING BK WHOLE ICEBERG LETTUCE 24 HEADS With a Use By date of January 8, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5221, 5231, and 5241 None / Aucun Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO CHOP LETTUCE ROMAINE 2 x 2lb With a Use By date of January 10, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 4941, 4951, 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5061, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5231, 5241, 5251, 5261 None / Aucun Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO 1″ CHOP PANERA LETTUCE ROMAINE 6 x 2lb With a Use By date of January 10, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 4941, 4951, 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5061, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5231, 5241, 5251, 5261 None / Aucun Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO PREMIUM CHOP LETTUCE ROMAINE HEARTS 6 x 2lb With a Use By date of January 10, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 4941, 4951, 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5061, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5231, 5241, 5251, 5261 10074865916643 Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
NONE – PACKAGED FOR USE BY PIZZA HUT 1 1/2″ CHOP ROMAINE LETTUCE 6 x 2lb With a Use By date of January 10, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 4941, 4951, 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5061, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5231, 5241, 5251, 5261 None / Aucun Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
BURGER KING CANADA 1 1/2″ CUT ROMAINE LETTUCE BK-2002 6 x 2lb With a Use By date of January 10, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 4941, 4951, 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5061, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5231, 5241, 5251, 5261 None / Aucun Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
NONE – PACKAGED FOR USE BY YUM 1 1/2″ CHOP ROMAINE LETTUCE 3 x 2lb With a Use By date of January 10, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 4941, 4951, 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5061, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5231, 5241, 5251, 5261 10883278093724 Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
FRESHPOINT CHOP ROMAINE 6 x 907 g With a Use By date of January 10, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 4941, 4951, 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5061, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5231, 5241, 5251, 5261 None / Aucun Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7
SYSCO 1 1/2″ CHOP ROMAINE LETTUCE 6 x 2lb With a Use By date of January 10, 2013 or earlier and lot codes 4941, 4951, 5011, 5021, 5031, 5041, 5051, 5061, 5111, 5121, 5131, 5141, 5151, 5211, 5231, 5241, 5251, 5261 10074865451069 Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7

 

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.

KFC-Taco Bell E. coli Problem Worsens

In Canada, 26 Cases of E. coli 0157:H7 Associated with KFC and Taco Bell

January 13, 2013 By  foodpoisoningbulletin

E.-coli-food-illnessThe Public Health Agency of Canada is investigating an E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak that has now sickened at least 26 people. The outbreak is located in the Maritimes and Ontario and is associated with shredded lettuce produced by Freshpoint Inc. and sold at KFC and KFC-Taco Bell restaurants. The lettuce was not distributed to grocery stores.

 

A recall has been announced. The source of contamination has not been determined. The lettuce originally came from California. U.S. officials have been notified of this outbreak. Public health officials are investigating to see if food safety controls were followed at each step along the production and supply chain.

So far, there are six cases of E. coli 0157:H7 in New Brunswick, ten cases in Nova Scotia, and ten cases in Ontario. Most of those sickened have recovered or are recovering. There may be more cases of illness identified as the investigation continues. The reported illnesses occurred between late December and early January.

The public can help government officials take control of this outbreak. If you are suffering symptoms of E. coli 0157:H7, such as severe stomach cramps, watery and/or bloody diarrhea, and vomiting, see your doctor immediately. And stay home when you are sick. About 5-10% of those who contract this infection develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure and can be fatal. Thorough hand washing is the best way to prevent person-to-person spread of this illness. And follow general food safety rules and precautions at all times.

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E. coli-Contaminated Lettuce Came from a California LGMA Grower

BY DAN FLYNN foodsafetynews | JANUARY 15, 2013

First it was just plain old lettuce, then it was California-grown lettuce, and now the latest from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is that was lettuce from a grower who has signed onto the California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement.

In explaining how that lettuce contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 came across the border from the U.S., CFIA now points to how involvement in the Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (LGMA) is a quick ticket across the international border for California-grown lettuce.

The idea is simple. Since the 115 California leafy green producers submit to a mandatory food safety program, they can check “Box 22″ on their Confirmation of Sale’s (COS) document and enter Canada almost without slowing down.

Amazing Coachella

And, the LGMA agreement may be the most stringent food safety program for leafy green producers on the planet. It includes mandatory government audits for lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens that follow a “best practices” model to reduce risk. It focuses on water, soil and other environmental conditions along with farm worker hygiene and harvest controls.

Still, the current E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, with at least 26 illnesses in three provinces, marks the second time in two years that California-grown lettuce served in Canadian restaurants has been responsible for a foodborne illness outbreak.

Last year’s outbreak involved two restaurants in Canada’s New Brunswick and one in Orange County, California. Genetic fingerprinting connected Amazing Coachella Inc., a Coachella, CA-based producer, to the illnesses in both countries.

This year’s outbreak involves KFC and Taco Bell outlets, restaurants of the Yum! Brands chain that receive fresh lettuce in the middle of winter from FreshPoint, a distributor in Toronto. CFIA has yet to name the actual grower, a subject that is giving the tight leafy green community in California something talk about.

“We’ve been reaching out some,” says April Ward, LGMA’s communications director who is based in Sacramento. Her members are talking about it, but no one has coughed up the name of the responsible grower – yet.

LGMA, in a statement issued on Chairman Ryan Talley’s blog, promises to fully cooperate with all those investigating the latest incident.

“Consumers should know that if there is an outbreak determined to be associated with California leafy greens, the LGMA is committed to working with health officials to assist in determining the cause,” he said. “Traceback and recall capabilities that are a mandatory part of our program can be initiated and any product with the potential to be associated with the outbreak is removed from market channels to protect consumers.”

“Information about any implicated farms is made available to authorities, and re-inspections can be done,” he continued. “If it is determined that an outbreak is the result of any on-farm practice, the food safety measures included in the LGMA program will be examined and, if necessary, changed.”

Talley said when LGMA hears about an possible outbreak involving one of its members, “We jump in to learn more.”

While California lettuce growers are aware of the Canadian outbreak involving their product, they aren’t too into speculating about who is involved. Tom Lathos, chief operating officer at Sun Coast Farms, said he’d sooner end his day at the beach, doing some January surfing.

Letting a pathogen slip through does not mean a producer loses its LGMA status. Under the program, a producer can be decertified or ordered to take corrective action. But Amazing Coachella Inc. remains in good standing as an LGMA member.

The LGMA program includes roles for both private sector auditors and California Department of Food and Agriculture inspectors. It was created in response to the 2006 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with spinach grown in California’s Salinas Valley, often called the “America’s Salad Bowl.”  In that outbreak, 205 were sickened and 5 died.

Talley says the LGMA program meets and/or exceeds the requirements of the new Produce Safety Rule, recently published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the two-year-old Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

All LGMA members use the organization’s service mark on bills of lading to assure customers that its products were produced under the best food safety practices available today. Growers who today can use that service mark include:

Agro Jal Farms Inc, Santa Maria
Amazing Coachella Inc/DBA Peter Rabbit Farms, Coachella
Amigo Farms Inc, Yuma
Andrew Smith Co, Spreckels
Anthony Costa and Sons, Soledad
Apio Inc, Guadalupe
Babe Farms Inc, Santa Maria
Badlands / El Don, Brawley
Baloian Packing Co Inc, Fresno
Beachside Produce LLC, Guadalupe
Bengard Ranch Inc, Salinas
Big E Produce, Lompoc
Blanton Produce Co, Salinas
Boggiatto Produce Inc, Salinas
Bonipak Produce Co, Santa Maria
Boskovich Farms, Oxnard
C and E Farms Inc, Salinas
Cal Cel Marketing Inc, Oxnard
Channel Islands Farm, Inc, Oxnard
Church Bros LLC, Salinas
Classic Salads LLC, Salinas
Coastal Fresh Farms, Westlake Village
Coastline / Sunridge Farms Inc, Salinas
Country Sweet Produce Inc, Bakersfield
Creekside Organics Inc., Bakersfield
Crystal Organic/Grimmway Farms, Bakersfield
D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of CA, Salinas
Dan Andrews Farms, Bakersfield
Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard
Diamond Produce Co, Salinas
Dole Fresh Vegetables, Salinas
Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc-Cal, Salinas
Durant Distributing, Santa Maria
Dynasty Farms Inc, Salinas
Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista
EpicVeg, Lompoc
Ernie Strahm & Sons, Inc – Holtville
Faurot Ranch LLC, Watsonville
Field Fresh Farms, Watsonville
Fisher Ranch Corporation, Blythe
Fratelli Farms, Hollister
Fresh Choice Marketing Inc, Oxnard
Fresh Express Inc, Salinas
Fresh Kist, Nipomo
Fresh Origins LLC, San Marcos
Fresh Roots LLC, Salinas
George Amaral Ranches Inc, Gonzales
Gold Coast Packing Co, Santa Maria
Greengate Fresh LLLP, Salinas
Growers Express LLC, Salinas
Ippolito International, Salinas
Jayleaf LLC, Hollister
Joe Heger Farms LLC, El Centro
John S Tamagni and Sons, Inc, Spreckels
Kawaguchi Farms, Arroyo Grande
Keber Distributing, Thermal
Kenter Canyon Farms, Sun Valley
Lakeside Organic Gardens LLC, Watsonville
Mann Packing Co Inc, Salinas
Misionero Vegetables, Salinas
Muranaka Farms, Moorpark
Nava Enterprise Inc, Oxnard
New Star Fresh Foods LLC | organicgirl, Salinas
North Country Produce, Paso Robles
Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville
Pablo’s Produce, Oxnard
Pacific Coast Produce, Santa Maria
Pacific Fresh Produce Inc, Oxnard
Pacific International Marketing, Salinas
Pacific Marketing Co, Salinas
Pacific Pride Marketing LLC, Oxnard
Pajaro Valley Fresh Fruit And Veg Dist, Watsonville
Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exch, Oceano
Premium Valley Produce, Inc, Scottsdale
Pure Pacific Organics, Salinas
Purepak Inc / Pacific Ridge Farms LLC, Oxnard
Ratto Bros Inc, Modesto
Ready Pac Foods Inc, Duarte
Real Fresh Farms Inc., Santa Paula
River Ranch Fresh Food LLC, Salinas
Royal Rose LLC / European Vegetable Specialties, Salinas
Sabor Farms, Salinas
Salad Savoy Corp, Salinas
San Cristobal Distributing Inc, Oxnard
San Miguel Produce, Oxnard
Santa Barbara Farms Packing, Lompoc
Scarborough Farms Inc, Oxnard
Seaboard Produce/Variety Marketing, Oxnard
Silva Farms, Gonzales
Steinbeck Country Produce, Spreckels
Strahm Farms Inc, Holtville
Sun Coast Farms, Santa Maria
Sun Terra Produce Traders Inc, Newport Beach
Sunamerica Produce, Salinas
Sunfresh USA Inc, Santa Paula
Sunsation Farms Inc, Monterey
Talley Farms Inc, Arroyo Grande
Tanimura And Antle Fresh Foods, Inc, Salinas
Taylor Farms, Salinas
The Nunes Co Inc, Salinas
The Salad Farm LLC, Salinas
True Leaf Farms, Salinas
Vessey And Company Inc, Holtville
William Consalo and Sons, Bakersfield

One of them likely shipped lettuce to Freshpoint.

© Food Safety News

 

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.