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Listeria outbreak leading to massive chicken recalls across Canada

On August 18, the federal government announced a total recall of Rosemount brand cooked diced chicken meat recalled due to Listeria monocytogenes, classifying the outbreak as a Class 2 hazard.

Dylan Gibbons Montreal QC

On August 18, the federal government announced a total recall of Rosemount brand cooked diced chicken meat recalled due to Listeria monocytogenes, classifying the outbreak as a Class 2 hazard.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued the following warning:

Rosemount Sales and Marketing is recalling Rosemount brand cooked diced chicken meat from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Consumers should not consume and distributors, retailers and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and nursing homes should not sell or use the recalled products described below.Government of Canada

The government has said this potentially nationwide recall was prompted by an investigation into a large foodborne illness outbreak.

Over the last week, additional information has been released to alert consumers to the outbreak and inform them on what products to avoid—it appears that additions to this list are ongoing.

So far, the following products have been recalled:

Brand Name      Common Name      Size      UPC      Code(s) on Product      Rosemount      Cooked diced chicken meat 13 mm – ½” (#16305)      4.54 kg      2 06 20263 12454 7      PACKDATE: 01/21/19      Brand Name      Common Name      Size      UPC      Code(s) on Product     Reuven International Ltd    Natural Proportion Cooked
 Chicken Meat (Diced)
 (#15307)     4.54 kg     907 63572 15307 1     PACKDATE:
 01/21/19     Reuven International Ltd    Natural Proportion Cooked
 Chicken Meat (Diced)
 (#15807)     4.54 kg     907 63572 15807 6     PACKDATE:
 01/21/19     Sysco    Natural Proportions Cooked
 Shredded Chicken
 (#15885)     Brand Name      Common Name      Size      UPC      Code(s) on Product     Rosemount    Cooked diced chicken mostly dark   13 mm – ½” (#18305)     4.54 kg     2 06 20263 12002 0     PACKDATE:

The CFIA says that anyone in possession of the above food products should throw them out immediately and contact their doctors if they start having any symptoms, even if symptoms are only mild.

A public health notice from the Government of Canada has informed citizens that as of August 23 2019, there have been seven confirmed cases of Listeria monocytogenes illness in three provinces: British Columbia (1), Manitoba (1) and Ontario (5).

The notice says that these seven individuals contracted the illness between November 2017 and June 2019. Of the seven, six individuals have been hospitalized. Those who fell ill are between 51 and 97 years of age, and 86% are female.

Furthermore, it appears the outbreak may be connected with a similar outbreak happening in U.S. As of August 23, the outbreak has claimed the lives of 2 and made 24 people sick in total over 11 states. Those ill ranged from 35 to 92 years, with the majority of cases, again, being female.

According to the CFIA, food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may appear fine in every way but it can still make you sick. They say that symptoms usually include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headaches, and neck stiffness.

According to Medical News Today, listeriosis is a food-borne infection caused by the Listeria bacteria, commonly found in water, soil, and feces. Humans become infected when they consume food with the bacteria. The most common foods associated with outbreaks are deli meats and unpasteurized dairy products; though, fruits and vegetables have also caused Listeria outbreaks due to the use of contaminated manure.

Most people who are affected by listeriosis don’t notice the infection and only experience mild if any symptoms. However, there are many who are more vulnerable, particularly if they have weakened immune systems, and symptoms for these people can be severe.

Specifically, those the elderly, newborns and especially pregnant women and the unborn are very susceptible to infection. Mortality rates for these individuals, if they are infected, can be relatively high, as listeriosis can “lead to a serious blood infection (septicemia) or inflammation of the membranes around the brain (meningitis).”

If listeriosis spreads to the brain, symptoms may include: cranial nerve palsie (paralysis and tremors); Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain); meningitis (inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord); meningoencephalitis (a combination of meningitis and encephalitis); and cerebral abscesses (localized pus build-up within the brain).

“Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to develop listeriosis than the general population. The incidence of listeriosis during pregnancy is 12 per 100,000, compared with 0.7 per 100,000 in the general population,” reports Medical News Today.

Furthermore, even if the mother doesn’t show any outward symptoms, their unborn child may be heavily affected.

“Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, the infection can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth. In severe cases of illness, people may die,” the CFIA reports.

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