This notice has been updated to reflect two additional cases that have been reported in the outbreak investigation. There are now 28 cases of E.coli O121 linked to various flours and flour products. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued food recall warnings for various flours and flour products related to the outbreak investigation. These recall warnings were triggered by findings during the food safety investigation into this outbreak. Canadians are advised to not eat or use any recalled flour or flour products. These food recall warnings and this outbreak are 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. Follow safe flour handling practices to reduce your risk of becoming sick.
OTTAWA, April 20, 2017 /CNW/ -
Why you should take note?
The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E. coli O121 that has been linked to various flour and flour products produced by Ardent Mills. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings advising Canadians of various flours and flour products under brand names Brodie, Creative Baker, Golden Temple, and Robin Hood, which were produced by Ardent Mills. These food recall warnings were triggered by CFIA findings during its food safety investigation into this outbreak.
These food recall warnings and this outbreak are 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.
Canadians are advised not to use or eat any recalled flour or flour products. For additional food recall details on product brand names and lot codes, please consult CFIA's website for this investigation. Restaurants and retailers are also advised not to sell or serve any recalled products, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using recalled products.
The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that more products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified. The CFIA is continuing its food safety investigation which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated food recall warnings.
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 28 cases of E. coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint. Canadian cases were reported in five provinces: British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (5), Ontario (1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). One of the 28 cases was a visitor to Canada. The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to March 2017. Seven individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported. The average age of ill individuals is 24 years.
During the food safety investigation, samples of Robin Hood All Purpose, Original flour were collected and did test positive for E. coli O121. Several individuals who became ill reported having contact with Robin Hood flour. The CFIA has issued food recall warnings for various flours and flours products produced by Ardent Mills that were triggered by findings during the food safety investigation into this outbreak. 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 any of the recalled products 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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