Public Health Notice - Outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to raw chicken, including frozen raw breaded chicken products

Thursday, September 13, 2018 Diet & Nutrition News
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OTTAWA, Sept. 13, 2018 /CNW/ - Original Notice 

Why you should take note

The Public

Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial and territorial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate outbreaks of Salmonella infections across
Canada
linked to raw chicken, including frozen raw breaded chicken products.

On September 13, 2018, Canada's Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health issued a statement advising Canadians to follow proper food safety practices when handling, preparing or consuming frozen raw breaded chicken products such as chicken nuggets, chicken strips, chicken burgers, popcorn chicken and chicken fries.

When not thoroughly cooked, frozen breaded chicken products containing raw chicken pose an increased health risk to individuals who handle, prepare or consume them. These products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned, but they should be handled and prepared with caution. Illnesses can be avoided by following cooking instructions carefully and verifying the internal temperature after cooking, as recommended, before consuming these products. Frozen raw breaded chicken products and raw chicken pieces must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure that they are safe to eat. Whole chicken needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 82°C (180°F).

Summary of investigations

In May 2017, Government of Canada scientists began using a new technology called "whole genome sequencing" to help identify and respond to outbreaks. Over the past year and a half, federal, provincial and territorial health and food safety partners have investigated 12 national outbreaks linked to raw chicken, including frozen raw breaded chicken products. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued food recall warnings for seven products linked to some of these outbreak investigations.

As of September 13, 2018, there have been 419 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella illness investigated as part of the illness outbreaks across the country: British Columbia (36), Alberta (60), Saskatchewan (13), Manitoba (19), Ontario (146), Quebec (98), New Brunswick (23), Nova Scotia (9), Prince Edward Island (1), Newfoundland and Labrador (10), Northwest Territories (1), Yukon (1), and Nunavut (2). There have been 86 individuals hospitalized as part of these outbreaks. Three individuals have died; however, Salmonella was not the cause of death for two of those individuals, and it was not determined whether Salmonella contributed to the cause of death for the third individual. Infections have occurred in Canadians of all ages and genders. 

All current and future Salmonella outbreak investigations linked to raw chicken, including frozen raw breaded chicken products, and related food recall warnings will be listed in the next section of the public health notice to remind Canadians of the ongoing risk associated with these types of food products.

Active investigations

Active national Salmonella outbreak investigations linked to raw chicken including frozen raw breaded chicken products, coordinated by the Public Health Agency of Canada:

September 13, 2018 (update) – Salmonella Enteritidis [initial notice was July 21, 2018]

  • Currently, there are 39 cases of illness in seven provinces linked to this outbreak: British Columbia (1), Alberta (5), Manitoba (2), Ontario (18), Quebec (11), New Brunswick (1), and Nova Scotia (1). Eleven individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Frozen raw breaded chicken products have been identified as the source of this outbreak.Product recall on July 20, 2018
    • No Name brand Chicken Nuggets (907g), with a best before date of May 15, 2019, on the outer package and a lot code of 1358M on the inner package. UPC – 0 60383 89685 0. The product was distributed nationally.

September 13, 2018 (update) – Salmonella Enteritidis [initial notice was July 21, 2018]

  • Currently, there are 25 cases of illness in eight provinces linked to this outbreak: British Columbia (3), Alberta (8), Saskatchewan (4), Manitoba (1), Ontario (1), Quebec (4), New Brunswick (1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (3). Four individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Frozen raw breaded chicken products have been identified as the source of this outbreak.Product recall on July 21, 2018
    • Unbranded $10 Chicken Fries (1.81 kg), with a best before date of March 23, 2019. UPC – 0 60249 01411 4. The product was distributed nationally.

Canadians are advised not to consume the recalled products, and retailers and restaurants are advised to not sell or serve the recalled products.

Information about previously investigated and currently closed national Salmonella outbreak investigations linked to raw chicken including frozen raw breaded chicken products, coordinated by the Public Health Agency of Canada since May 2017 is available at the end of this notice.

Who is most at risk

Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are more fragile.

Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.

What you should do to protect your health

Check to see whether you have the recalled frozen raw breaded chicken products in your home or place of business. If you do:

  • Do not use or eat the recalled products. Secure the recalled products in a plastic bag and then either throw them out or return them to the store where they were purchased.
  • If you do not have the original packaging of a frozen raw breaded chicken product and you are unsure of whether it is included in the food recall warnings, throw it out just to be safe.

Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately following any contact with a recalled product.

Beyond recalled food items, frozen raw breaded chicken products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned, but they may contain raw chicken and should be handled and prepared no differently from other raw chicken products.

If you are preparing breaded chicken products, such as nuggets, strips, burgers or fries, the following precautions should be taken to protect your health:

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked frozen breaded chicken products. Cook all frozen raw breaded chicken products to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure that they are safe to eat. Use a digital food thermometer to verify the temperature. Insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the product, all the way to the middle. Oven-safe meat thermometers that are designed for testing whole chicken and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing nuggets, strips or burgers.
  • Microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded chicken products—including chicken nuggets, strips, burgers, popcorn chicken or chicken fries—is not recommended because of the possibility of uneven heating.
  • Always follow the cooking instructions on the package, including for products labelled Uncooked, Cook and Serve, Ready to Cook, and Oven Ready.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling frozen raw breaded chicken products.
  • Use a separate plate, cutting board and utensils when handling frozen raw breaded chicken products to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
  • Do not re-use plates, cutting boards or utensils that have come in contact with frozen raw breaded chicken products to serve the cooked product unless they have been thoroughly washed.

Foods carrying Salmonella may look, smell and taste normal, so it's important to follow safe food-handling tips for buying, chilling, thawing, cleaning, cooking, and storing any chicken products: 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling all types of raw chicken.
  • Always follow the cooking instructions provided on the package. Cook chicken to a safe internal temperature that has been checked using a digital thermometer. Raw chicken pieces should be cooked to an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F). Whole chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 82°C (180°F).
  • Keep raw chicken away from other food while shopping, storing, repackaging, cooking and serving foods.
  • Never rinse chicken before using it because the bacteria can spread everywhere the water splashes, creating more of a hazard.
  • Use warm, soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, your hands, and any surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat, chicken and fish.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a Salmonella infection or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not cook food for other people.
  • For more information, read our poultry safety fact sheet.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal or contaminated product.

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting

These symptoms usually last for four to seven days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment. In some cases, severe illness and hospitalization may occur. In some cases, antibiotics may be required. People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks. People who experience symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care provider if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads the human health investigation into an outbreak and is in regular contact with its federal, provincial and territorial partners to monitor the situation and to collaborate on steps to address an outbreak.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine whether the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians as new information related to these investigations becomes available.

Additional information

  • New Requirements for Industry to Reduce Salmonella
  • Frozen Raw Breaded Chicken Fact Sheet
  • Salmonella Fact Sheet
  • Poultry Safety Fact Sheet 
  • General Food Safety Tips 
  • Recalls and safety alerts mobile application

Closed investigations

Previously investigated national Salmonella outbreak investigations linked to chicken including frozen raw breaded chicken products, coordinated by the Public Health Agency of Canada since May 2017:

June 2, 2018Salmonella Enteritidis

  • There were 90 cases of illness in 10 provinces and territories: British Columbia (9), Alberta (9), Manitoba (9), Ontario (27), Quebec (29), New Brunswick (2), Nova Scotia (2), Newfoundland and Labrador (1), the Northwest Territories (1), and Yukon (1). Twenty-one individuals were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. Raw chicken, including frozen raw breaded chicken products, was identified as the source of this outbreak. This outbreak investigation was closed on August 23, 2018.Product recall on June 2, 2018 
    • No name brand Chicken Burgers (1 kg), with a best before date of February 6, 2019, and a lot code of 0378M on the inner package. UPC – 0 60383 16636 6. The product was distributed nationally.

March 15, 2018Salmonella Enteritidis

  • There were 33 cases of illness in six provinces: Alberta (2), Saskatchewan (1), Ontario (17), Quebec (8), New Brunswick (4), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). Four individuals were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. Raw chicken, including frozen raw breaded chicken products, was identified as the source of this outbreak. This outbreak investigation was closed on May 4, 2018.Product recall on March 28, 2018 
    • Harvest Creek Chicken Nuggets – Uncooked Breaded Cutlettes (2 x 1 kg) with a best before date of October 11, 2018. UPC – 8 29810 93350 2. The product was distributed in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, possibly nationally and/or Quebec.

February 23, 2018Salmonella Enteritidis

  • There were 12 cases of illness in four provinces: Alberta (1), British Columbia (2), Ontario (7), and New Brunswick (2). One individual was hospitalized. No deaths were reported. Frozen raw breaded chicken products were identified as the source of this outbreak. This outbreak investigation was closed on April 12, 2018.

November 15, 2017Salmonella Enteritidis

  • There were 54 cases of illness in nine provinces: Alberta (10), British Columbia (6), Manitoba (2), New Brunswick (4), Newfoundland and Labrador (3), Nova Scotia (1), Ontario (13), Quebec (13), and Saskatchewan (2). Eight individuals were hospitalized. One death was reported and the cause of death was not Salmonella. Raw chicken, including frozen raw breaded chicken products, was identified as the source of this outbreak. The outbreak investigation was closed on January 9, 2018.

September 28, 2017 – Salmonella Enteritidis

  • There were 22 cases of illness in six provinces: British Columbia (1), Alberta (1), Ontario (12), Quebec (3), New Brunswick (3), and Nova Scotia (2). Eight individuals were hospitalized. One of the ill individuals died; however, it was not determined whether Salmonella contributed to the cause of death. Frozen raw breaded chicken products were identified as the source of this outbreak. This outbreak investigation was closed on January 31, 2018.Product recall on October 17, 2017 
    • Janes Pub Style Chicken Burgers – Uncooked Breaded Chicken Burgers (800 g) with a best before date of May 12, 2018. UPC – 0 69299 12491 0. The product was distributed nationally.
    • Janes Pub Style Snacks Popcorn Chicken – Uncooked Breaded Chicken Cutlettes (800 g) with a best before date of May 15, 2018, MA 15. UPC – 0 69299 12542 9. The product was distributed nationally.

August 17, 2017 -– Salmonella Heidelberg

  • There were 9 cases of illness in six provinces and territories: Alberta (1), British Columbia (1), Nunavut (2), Ontario (2), Quebec (1), and Saskatchewan (2). Five individuals were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. Frozen raw breaded chicken products were identified as the source of this outbreak. The outbreak investigation was closed on September 11, 2017.

August 10, 2017Salmonella Braenderup

  • There were 51 cases of illness in six provinces: Alberta (9), British Columbia (10), Manitoba (3), Ontario (26), Saskatchewan (2), and Quebec (1). Five individuals were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. Raw chicken was identified as the source of this outbreak. The outbreak investigation was closed on December 1, 2017.

August 10, 2017Salmonella Enteritidis

  • There were 46 cases of illness in eight provinces: Alberta (1), British Columbia (1), Manitoba (1), New Brunswick (4), Nova Scotia (3), Ontario (11), Quebec (24), and Prince Edward Island (1). Thirteen individuals were hospitalized. One death was reported, but this was not due to Salmonella infection. Raw chicken was identified as the source of this outbreak. The outbreak investigation was closed on September 7, 2017.

July 4, 2017Salmonella Enteritidis

  • There were 25 cases of illness in seven provinces: British Columbia (1), Alberta (8), Saskatchewan (2), Ontario (7), Quebec (4), New Brunswick (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (2). Four individuals were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. Raw chicken was identified as the source of this outbreak. The outbreak investigation was closed on September 22, 2017.

June 26, 2017Salmonella Enteritidis

  • There were 13 cases of illness in five provinces: British Columbia (1), Alberta (5), Manitoba (1), Ontario (5), and New Brunswick (1). Two people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. Frozen raw breaded chicken products were identified as the source of this outbreak. The outbreak investigation was closed on August 25, 2017.Product recall on July 12, 2017 
    • President's Choice brand Pub Recipe Chicken Nuggets (800 g) with a best before date of March 15, 2018. The product was distributed nationally.

 

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada



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