CFIA & PHAC Merge Forces

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Further to an announcement made in April 2012, effective April 1, 2013, some programs of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) Office of Biohazard Containment and Safety (OBCS) and the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) Pathogen Regulation Directorate (PRD) will be merged. Import permits for terrestrial animal and human pathogens, as well as the certification of laboratories handling these types of pathogens will be offered through a single office located within the PRD at PHAC.

The OBCS at the CFIA will continue to issue permits for:

pathogens causing foreign animal and emerging animal diseases (i.e., pathogens that are not established in or indigenous to Canada);
animals, animal products and by-products, tissue, sera and blood that are infected with animal pathogens;
aquatic animal pathogens; and
plant pathogens.

Additional information on certification and compliance verification for containment facilities, and other information related to the merger, is contained in the attached FAQ.
These changes will also be reflected in the Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines, which will harmonize CFIA and PHAC requirements for biocontainment laboratories handling animal and zoonotic pathogens, as well as pathogens that affect humans only.

The PRD and the OBCS have been working together to achieve program efficiencies for several years. This merger will significantly reduce duplicate regulatory requirements and administrative burden for controlling animal and human pathogens.   This change will enhance the Government of Canada’s capacity and capability to oversee pathogen-related work, without increasing public or animal health risks. The containment regulations and measures designed to protect Canadians and animals from these pathogens and the diseases they cause will continue to be enforced.

Should you have any questions, please contact:

Tianna MacInnes National Manager, Office of Biohazard Containment and Safety, CFIA 613-773-5768tianna.macinnes@inspection.gc.ca   or

Mary Louise Graham Director, Office of Biosafety and Biocontainment Operations, PHAC 613-957-1775Mary.Louise.Graham@phac-aspc.gc.ca

Yours sincerely,

William (Bill) Anderson, Ph.D.A/Associate Vice-President
Science Branch, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
1400 Merivale RoadOttawa, Ontario
K1A 0Y9
Telephone: 613 773-5851
William.Anderson@inspection.gc.ca

Sandra Fry, Director General
Pathogen Regulation Directorate
Emergency Management and Corporate Affairs
Public Health Agency of Canada
100 Colonnade Road Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K9
Telephone  613 960-6637
Sandra.Fry@phac-aspc.gc.ca

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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Health Canada Study Finds Parasites In Packaged Salads

HACCPCanada Certification - Be Informed

 

Parasites found in pre-washed packages of lettuce: Health Canada

Andy Johnson, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2013 10:00PM EST

In the first-ever large-scale study of its kind, Canadian researchers have tested how clean pre-washed packages of leafy greens really are, and found parasites in dozens of samples purchased in Ontario.

Looking at 544 samples of store-bought, pre-washed salads, researchers from Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada found nearly one-tenth of the samples were contaminated with either cyclospora, cryptosporidium or giardia — parasites that can cause intestinal illness, such as diarrhea.

“In the present study, a relatively high prevalence of all three parasites was found in packaged, ready-to-eat leafy greens,” said the study, published recently in the Journal of Food Protection.

Parasites found in pre-washed packages of lettuce

Canadian researchers have tested how clean pre-washed packages of leafy greens really are, and found parasites in dozens of samples purchased in Ontario.

Parasites found in pre-washed packages of lettuce

Researchers suspect the water used for irrigation both on American and Canadian farms is contaminated with human excrement.

Parasites found in pre-washed packages of lettuce

 

Brent Dixon with Health Canada says there is concern in the fact that parasites are present in pre-washed lettuce.

 

“This, along with the fact that all isolates tested represented species and genotypes commonly reported in humans, suggests that there is a potential for transmission to consumers, particularly since these leafy greens are typically consumed raw.”

None of the products that tested positive are believed to have been associated with any reported illness outbreaks.

While cryptosporidium has been reported in such food products as apple cider, apples and locally-grown spinach, the study is the first to positively identify cyclospora and giardia in North American produce samples.

Giardia and cryptosporidium are water-borne microscopic parasites that can cause intestinal illnesses such as diarrhea. Cyclospora is a human-borneparasite, spread when food or water is contaminated with human feces.

“The relatively high prevalence of these parasites in packaged salads and leafy greens establishes a baseline for further studies and suggests a need for additional research with respect to the possible sources of contamination of these foods,” the study said.

To conduct the study, the research team purchased a total of 544 prewashed salad samples between April 2009 and March 2010 — all in the Waterloo, Ont. area. After testing the samples, the team found:

  • Nine (1.7%) of the samples tested positive for cyclospora;
  • 32 (5.7%) of the samples tested positive for cryptosporidium;
  • 10 (1.8%) of the samples tested positive for giardia.

*Two of the samples were contaminated with two of the parasites

In total, 507 of the samples were grown in the U.S., with 23 coming from Canada and seven from Mexico. Two were labelled as the products of two countries. Of the contaminated samples, 46 were grown in the U.S. and three were grown in Canada. None of the three Mexican samples tested positive for the parasites.

Brent Dixon, a parasite scientist with Health Canada and one of the report’s authors, said the study breaks new ground for scientists studying the North American food supply chain — and serves as a wake-up call.

“The fact (the parasites) are there at all is of some concern to us,” he told CTV News, adding all the samples tested were labelled as pre-washed and, in some cases, triple-washed.

“Consumers that are concerned can do additional washing, but from what we know it does not remove 100 per cent of pathogens from produce.”

Still, Dixon doesn’t want Canadians turning away from salad; he noted that the health benefits of eating raw greens will likely outweigh the risks of possibly developing diarrhea from eating them.

The study didn’t specify how the samples became contaminated. It is possible that either the food itself or equipment used to process it could have been contaminated during harvest, packaging or transport — or directly from the hands of food handlers who are infected or have poor sanitary practices. Crops can also become contaminated through the use of contaminated water used to mix pesticides or wash produce.

Rick Holley, a microbiology and food safety professor with the University of Manitoba, said the study points to the need for greater scrutiny of Canada’s food-processing systems.

“We really should be at the lower levels, down around less than a one-per-cent (contamination rate),” he said. “These products are eaten raw: we are not cooking these and they have organisms on them that can cause mild to severe health effects in humans.”

Keith Warriner, a food scientist with Guelph University, said the study underlines the fact there are food safety risks associated with leafy greens.

“The issue is that the leafy greens are harvested (and) they are washed, but washing doesn’t do that much … What’s acquired in the field is usually taken straight onto the plate.”

Warriner said consumers wishing to reduce the risk of illness can keep their leafy greens refrigerated, which stops the growth of pathogens.

And for those who are susceptible to a parasitic illness — including the ill, elderly or pregnant — Warriner recommends purchasing intact lettuce as opposed to pre-cut products.

See the original article here.

With a report from CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip

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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CFIA Issues Statement On Safeway/Cardinal Meat Specialists Investigation

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.

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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.

 

Kaytee Products Recalls Forti-Diet Pro Health Mouse, Rat and Hamster

 

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Forti-Diet Pro Health Mouse, Rat and Hamster Recall

Kaytee Pet Products is recalling a single manufacturing batch of Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Mouse, Rat and Hamster due to possible contamination with Salmonella. The product affected by this recall is identified below and has the following “Best Before” dates:

Material # UPC Code Size Product Name/Description Best Before Code
(day-month-year)
100502315 71859 00001 6/5 lb. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Mouse, Rat & Hamster 03-Apr-2013 K61
100502086 71859 99995 25 lb. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Mouse, Rat & Hamster 31-Mar-2013
100502085 71859 99994 6/3 lb. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Mouse, Rat & Hamster 31-Mar-2013 K63
100502275 71859 00000 25 lb. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Mouse, Rat & Hamster – Petco Stores Only 30-Mar-2013


Product and product lots that do not appear on the list above are not subject to this recall.

Having a hard time finding the best before code please click here.

No human or pet illnesses have been reported to-date. The recall notification is being issued based on a single manufacturing batch wherein a sample with the “Best Before” date of (lot) 03APR13K61 had a positive result for Salmonella in a random sample test conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Mouse, Rat & Hamster product was originally manufactured on January 5 and 6, 2012. Kaytee is taking immediate action to remove the product from all retail stores and distribution centers, and to fully investigate the cause.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Recalled products were distributed to retailers and distributors in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin; and, into the countries of Abu Dhabi, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, Dutch Antilles, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guam, Honduras, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, and Trinidad.

Consumers who have purchased the Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Mouse, Rat & Hamster product with the above-referenced “Best Before” dates are urged to contact Kaytee Customer Service representatives.

Kaytee Customer Service representatives and company veterinarians are responding to inquires through the 1-800-Kaytee1 (800 529-8331) phone number or the form below and will answer any questions regarding pets that have been fed the product.

Contact:
Customer Service:
1-800-KAYTEE1 (1-800-529-8331)
Email: KayteeForti-DietProHealthMouseRatHamsterRecall@central.com

Milk Recalled for Metal Fragments In Ontario

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Reference Number: 7739
Recalling Firm: STEEN’S DAIRY
Date of Recall: 1/17/2013
Recall Classification: 2
Distribution : Ontario
Extent of the Product Distribution : Retail

Product List

Brand Name Common Name Size Codes(s) on Product UPC Reason for Recall:
ORGANIC MEADOW 3.8% M.F. WHOLE MILK L FE 05 0 62325 41113 8 Extraneous Material – Harmful – Metal
ORGANIC MEADOW 2% M.F. PARTLY SKIMMED MILK L FE 05 0 62325 41111 4 Extraneous Material – Harmful – Metal
ORGANIC MEADOW 1% M.F. PARTLY SKIMMED MILK L FE 05 0 62325 41112 1 Extraneous Material – Harmful – Metal
ORGANIC MEADOW SKIM MILK L FE 05 0 62325 41116 5 Extraneous Material – Harmful – Metal
STEEN’S 3.25% M.F. HOMO MILK L FE 05 6 25165 00002 2 Extraneous Material – Harmful – Metal
STEEN’S 2% M.F. PARTLY SKIMMED MILK L FE 05 6 25165 00001 8 Extraneous Material – Harmful – Metal
STEEN’S 1% M.F. PARTLY SKIMMED MILK L FE 05 6 25165 00003 2 Extraneous Material – Harmful – Metal
STEEN’S SKIM MILK L FE 05 6 25165 00004 9 Extraneous Material – Harmful – Metal
HOMETOWN 3.25% M.F. HOMO MILK L FE 05 0 28784 01037 4 Extraneous Material – Harmful – Metal
HOMETOWN 2% M.F. PARTLY SKIMMED MILK L FE 05 0 28784 01036 7 Extraneous Material – Harmful – Metal
HOMETOWN 1% M.F. PARTLY SKIMMED MILK L FE 05 0 28784 01035 0 Extraneous Material – Harmful – Metal

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.

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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.

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.

____________________________________________________

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

 

Details Emerge of The Capital Packers Inc. Suspension

CFIA Suspends Operations at Establishment 231, Capital Packers Inc.

HEALTH HAZARD ALERT – Certain CAPITAL brand and COMPLIMENTS brand HAM SAUSAGES may contain Listeria monocytogenes

November 22, 2012, Ottawa: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has suspended the licence to operate of Establishment 231, Capital Packers Inc., in Edmonton, Alberta effective November 22, 2012.

The CFIA has determined that adequate controls for food safety are not being reliably implemented in the facility on a consistent basis. The company has failed to correct deficiencies previously identified through CFIA inspections.

All products currently at this plant are under CFIA detention and control. In addition, theCFIA is conducting a food safety investigation to determine if products shipped from the plant pose potential risks to consumers, particularly related to Listeria monocytogenescontamination. The CFIA will immediately alert the public if unsafe food could be in the marketplace.

Capital Packers Inc. will not be able to resume operations until they have fully implemented the necessary corrective actions and the CFIA is fully confident in the plant’s capacity to effectively manage food safety risks.

The safety of consumers is the CFIA’s top priority and the Agency will work diligently to ensure there is no potential risk to consumers. Additional information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.

 

Capital Packers Inc. License Suspended & Recalls Ham Sausage

CFIA Suspends Capital Packers Inc. License and Issues Recall for Certain CAPITAL brand and COMPLIMENTS brand HAM SAUSAGES may contain Listeria monocytogenes

OTTAWA, November 22, 2012 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Capital Packers Inc. (EST 231) are warning the public not to consume Capital brand and Compliments brand Ham Sausages described below because the products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The following products are affected by this alert:

Brand Product Size UPC Code
Capital Ham Sausage 300 g 0 64946 51100 6 2012 DE 26
Compliments Ham Sausage 375 g 0 68820 10061 4 2012 DE 26

The CFIA has suspended the licence to operate at Establishment 231, Capital Packers Inc. effective today. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation and the public warning may be updated if additional food products are identified which are deemed to be a health risk.

These products may have been distributed nationally.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with these bacteria may cause listeriosis, a foodborne illness. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness, however, infections during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

The manufacturer, Capital Packers Inc. (EST 231), Edmonton, AB is voluntarily recalling the affected products from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

For more information, consumers and industry can call one of the following numbers:

Capital Packers Inc. at 780-476-1391, ext. 345;

CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).