This notice has been updated to include information about a food recall warning that is related to the outbreak investigation. Canadians are advised to not eat or use the recalled flour product. Additional advice on safe food practices for preparing raw dough and batter is also included.
OTTAWA, March 28, 2017 /CNW/ -
Why you should take note?
The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal
Canadians are advised not to use or eat any Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original sold in 10 kilogram bags with a code containing BB/MA 2018 AL 17 and 6 291 548 as these products may be contaminated with E. coli. For additional recall details, please consult CFIA's recall notice. Restaurants and retailers are also advised not to sell or serve the recalled product, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using the recalled product.
This outbreak is a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E.coli.
E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, other animals, and humans. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E.coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.
While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.
There have been 25 cases of E. coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint reported in four provinces: British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (4) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to late February 2017. Six individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported. The majority (54%) of the individuals who became ill are male with an average age of 24 years.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a food recall warning for Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original linked to this outbreak. During the food safety investigation, samples of Robin Hood flour were collected and did test positive for E.coli O121. Several individuals who became ill reported having contact with Robin Hood flour. The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified.
Who is most at risk?
Although anyone can get an E. coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.
What you should do to protect your health?
Check to see if you have the recalled product in your home or place of business. If you do:
For general use of flour, the following tips will also help reduce your risk of becoming ill:
People infected with E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.
The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:
Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E. coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.
What the Government of Canada is doing
The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.
Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.
The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada
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