59 sick with Salmonella in Canada linked to raw frozen breaded chicken thingies

Monique Scotti of Global News is reporting that Health Canada is issuing a widespread recall of frozen No Name brand chicken burgers as part of a broader effort to reduce the number of salmonella-related illnesses across the country.

The specific product affected by the recall is No Name brand Chicken Burgers (1kg), with a best before date of Feb. 6, 2019. Any individual or restaurant with this product in their freezer is being told not to consume or serve the burgers.

The recall comes three months after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a press release warning of a rise in Salmonella Enteritidis infections over the past several years.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it is now dealing with an outbreak of salmonella infections linked to poultry, including frozen raw breaded chicken products.

There were 59 cases of salmonella-linked illness across eight provinces between March and May, the agency reported on Monday, and 10 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. The majority of patients (61 per cent) are male, with an average age of 34.

“Several of the ill individuals involved in the outbreak reported having eaten No Name brand chicken burgers before their illness occurred,” said a press release.

“A food sample of No Name brand Chicken Burgers (1kg), with a best before date of February 6, 2019, tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis.”

The risk to Canadians is low, the agency added.

Unless you get sick. Then the risk is really fucking high.

1 dead, 42 sick: E. coli outbreak linked to pork products in Alberta declared over

On Friday, Alberta Health Services said the E. coli outbreak linked to certain pork products in the province was officially over.

AHS started investigating a number of confirmed cases on March 29.

The outbreak was connected to some pork products sold and distributed by The Meat Shop at Pine Haven. Several other businesses were impacted since they used the affected pork products and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a food recall.

In total, there were 42 lab-confirmed cases of E. coli linked to this outbreak.

Thirteen patients needed medical treatment at the hospital and one person “died likely due to infection with E. coli,” AHS said.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of the patient who died and all of those affected by this,” said Dr. Jasmine Hasselback, medical officer of health for the Edmonton zone. “We would like to thank our federal and provincial partners for their collaboration on this investigation.”

Using observation to evaluate training: Canadian High School edition

A couple of old friends Shannon Majowicz and Ken Diplock and colleagues from Waterloo, (that’s in Canada) are doing good work looking at food safety stuff with high school students- evaluating training efficacy using observation. They published their work demonstrating some sustained food safety behaviors following a training program, this month in the Journal of Food Protection.

Kenneth J. Diplock, Joel A. Dubin, Scott T. Leatherdale, David Hammond, Andria Jones-Bitton, and Shannon E. Majowicz. 2018. Observation of High School Students’ Food Handling Behaviors: Do They Improve following a Food Safety Education Intervention?

Greenbank High School Birkdale Merseyside.

Journal of Food Protection: June 2018, Vol. 81, No. 6, pp. 917-925

Youth are a key audience for food safety education. They often engage in risky food handling behaviors, prepare food for others, and have limited experience and knowledge of safe food handling practices. Our goal was to investigate the effectiveness of an existing food handler training program for improving safe food handling behaviors among high school students in Ontario, Canada. However, because no schools agreed to provide control groups, we evaluated whether behaviors changed following delivery of the intervention program and whether changes were sustained over the school term. We measured 32 food safety behaviors, before the intervention and at 2-week and 3-month follow-up evaluations by in-person observations of students (n = 119) enrolled in grade 10 and 12 Food and Nutrition classes (n = 8) and who individually prepared recipes. We examined within-student changes in behaviors across the three time points, using mixed effects regression models to model trends in the total food handling score (of a possible 32 behaviors) and subscores for “clean” (17 behaviors), “separate” (14 behaviors), and “cook” (1 behavior), adjusting for student characteristics. At baseline, students (n = 108) averaged 49.1% (15.7 of 32 behaviors; standard deviation = 5.8) correct food handling behaviors, and only 5.5% (6) of the 108 students used a food thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken (the “cook” behavior). All four behavior score types increased significantly ∼2 weeks postintervention and remained unchanged ∼3 months later. Student characteristics (e.g., having taken a prior food handling course) were not significant predictors of the total number of correctly performed food handling behaviors or of the “clean” or “separate” behaviors, and frequency of cooking and self-described cooking ability were the only characteristics significantly associated with food thermometer use (i.e., “cook”). Despite the significant increase in correct behaviors, students continued to use risky practices postintervention, suggesting that the risk of foodborne disease remained.

Who throws poop? This Canadian woman at a Tim Hortons

To those not familiar with The Guess Who, Neil Young or Drake, you may not know the name Tim Hortons, a coffee and doughnut mega-chain started by the late Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenceman and his business partner, a cop.

You may also not understand the phrase, double-double (Chapman’s favorite).

When I had those daughters in Guelph, I would take them to the local Tims after a 6-7 a.m. practice.

I always refused to buy the coffee because I could make better stuff at home.

Sure the grad student helped coach, but he could get his own Tims.

I got whatever daughter was involved that morning a doughnut, and sometimes a hot chocolate, so they wouldn’t feel too nauseous by 11 a.m. and could make it through the school day (of course I made their lunches too, but ya gotta get over that morning hump).

Now Tims has a different kind of notoriety.

According to KRON in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (KRON) a Canadian woman was caught on camera pulling down her pants, doing her business, and throwing the end result at a Tim Horton’s employee who denied her access to the restroom. 

A spokesperson for Tim Horton’s told BuzzFeed that some of its restaurants have a “restricted access policy for restrooms to ensure the well-being of our guests.” 

The spokesperson said their current understanding of the situation is that the woman was denied access to the restroom due to “past behavior.” 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (if you’re the RCMP where’s your horse?) told BuzzFeed the woman was “briefly detained after the incident” and prosecutors will determine if the woman will face charges when she appears in court at a later date.

Just last week, Starbucks told employees to let anyone use the restroom, even if they haven’t bought anything, as it reviews its policies and tries to restore its reputation after the arrest of two black men at a coffee shop in Philadelphia.

40 sick, 1 dead: Alberta meat retailers struggling on the E. coli chain gang

Supply chain? Blockchain? Chain gang?

In food safety, anyone is only as good as their weakest link.

The fall-out can be devastating.

Several businesses have been impacted, positively and negatively, by the current E. coli outbreak. CTV Edmonton’s Dan Grummett reports.

As the number of Alberta residents sickened by pork tainted with E. coli rises, many of the butcher shops caught up in the ensuing recall say their businesses’ reputations have been damaged.

Since the outbreak began in late March, 40 cases of E. coli infection have been confirmed; 12 people have been hospitalized and one person has died.

The outbreak began when several people who visited the same restaurant in Edmonton become ill. Alberta Health Services soon traced the illnesses to pork products distributed by The Meat Shop in Pine Haven, Alb.

Edmonton’s Real Deal Meats says her family-run business has had to throw away thousands of dollars worth of meat.

That prompted a recall that has since expanded to include raw and frozen meat, ground pork, sausages and more. The products have only been distributed in Alberta.

An Edmonton law firm has already begun a $15-million lawsuit against The Meat Shop, on behalf of those who have become ill. But more than half a dozen businesses whose names have been caught up in the recall say their reputations are taking a hit too.

Alicia Boisvert of Edmonton’s Real Deal Meats says her family-run business has had to throw away thousands of dollars worth of meat — much of it returned by customers.

“We have to remove all the packaging… before the truck picks it up,” she told CTV Edmonton. “And then we have to pay for that (removal). Obviously, we’re going to have to figure that out as well.”

Another business whose reputation has taken a hit in this outbreak is Mama Nita’s Filipino Cuisine in southeast Edmonton – the restaurant where the outbreak began.

A full 21 of the 40 lab-confirmed cases have been linked to Mama Nita’s. The restaurant is still open but would not speak to CTV Edmonton about how their business is doing.

The other 19 illnesses — including the one involving the patient who died — have been linked to pork sold by Pine Haven’s retail partners.

The names of each business have been listed on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website, their store fronts splashed on the news even if they didn’t sell any contaminated pork.

Real Deal Meats’ Boisvert says, just being associated with an E. coli outbreak has led to many sleepless night for her and her family.

At K&K Foodliner — another food retailer caught up in the recall — business is slower. Even though Pine Haven pork is no longer sold at the store, general manager Kevin Krause says some customers are avoiding pork altogether.

“This is our first recall in 62 years,” he told CTV Edmonton. “Regardless if it’s Pine Haven’s fault, it’s still our reputation on the line as well.”

Pins found in pepperoni sticks, sausage sold in B.C.

Nanaimo, British Columbia (that’s in Canada) may be famous for its Nanaimo bars, but now police are investigating after pins were found in meat products sold throughout Nanaimo, B.C.

RCMP (that’s the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, where’s your horse?) say they’ve had three reports about food tampering at separate stores in the Vancouver Island city since December 2017, but no injuries have been reported.

In each case, a pin — similar to one used for sewing — was found in a pepperoni stick or Ukrainian sausage made by Grimm’s Fine Foods.

Police say they haven’t received any reports involving other Grimm’s products, or any other meat products in Nanaimo or elsewhere.

Investigators believe the products were tampered with while on display.

Const. Gary O’Brien says the public needs to be especially vigilant and inspect meat products before eating them.

People barfing: Listeria in Deli Classic brand Seasoned Cooked Roast Beef Round in Canada

There was this one time, about 5 years ago, and I had to go to emergency to get 13 stiches after falling while trying to teach Sorenne to ride a bicycle, and Dr. Monty Python said, “merely a flesh wound.”

I was back 8 hours later for an additional 10 stiches cause it was still bleeding.

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency there have been reported illnesses associated with a product similar to Erie Meat Products Ltd. Deli Classic brand Seasoned Cooked Roast Beef Round however, at this time, there have been no confirmed illnesses associated with the product identified in this Food Recall Warning.

Uh-huh.

The Canadians are like their Commonwealth breathen, the Australians, in that the food regulators leave it up to the heath regulators to say if someone is sick from food.

At least in Canada the food types will say if someone is sick, whereas the Australian food types say, nothing to see here, move along.

But, Canadian regulatory types refuse to say how many are sick, leaving that to the health folks: shouldn’t a government be able to deliver a clear, consistent message?

We play but agree, cause many of us do hockey

After Chapman posted about the Humboldt Broncos’ terrible bus crash, I thanked him because, I didn’t know what else to say.

I’ve been playing, coaching and even sometimes administering local hockey for 51 years, and this stuff strikes deep into any parent who has swerved on a snow-covered Canadian road only to listen to the kid (me) complaining, ‘we need to get there.’

Chapman wrote, “I often tell people that all I really know is hockey, food safety and family; everything and everyone important to me falls in one of those buckets. …

“All I could think of is all the teams I have been part of, back to when I was just a kid until now. Those experiences have meant so much more than competition and sport.

“It’s exactly why I got into coaching.”

No. Chapman got into coaching because I was his graduate supervisor, and his responsibilities included helping to coach a 6-9-year-old girls rep hockey team from Guelph, and bailing me out of jail upon request.

(He will say he was coaching before, but it probably wasn’t as much fun).

In 2005, Chapman and I came up with barfblog.com, and the first post was about hockey and barfing.

The worst was when I was 10 or 11. I was playing AAA hockey in my hometown of Brantford Ont., and we were off to an out-of-town game. My parents (bless them) usually drove, but obligations meant I had to get a ride with a friend on the team. About half-way to the arena, I started feeling nauseous. I tried to ask the driving dad to pull over, but it came on so fast, I had to grab the closest item in the backseat, an empty lunchbox. 
I filled it.

And more.

Back in the 1970s, the coach’s main concern was that we win. I was the starting goaltender almost every game, while the backup sat on the bench. We had something to prove because we were from Brantford, the city that had produced Wayne Gretzky just a couple of years earlier and everyone was gunning for us. 

I tried to get myself together to play. No luck. We got to the arena and I promptly hurled. 

And again.

I couldn’t play, and, unfortunately, couldn’t go home. So the rest of the team went out for the game, as I lay on a wooden bench in a sweat-stenched dressing room, vomiting about every 15 minutes. 

Such tales are not unique.

Whenever I spark up a conversation with a stranger, and they discover I work in food safety, the first response is: “You wouldn’t believe this one time. I was so sick” or some other variation on the line from American Pie, “This one time, at band camp …”

But the stories of vomit and flatulence are deadly serious. In 1995, a 5-year-old died in Wales as part of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened some 170 schoolchildren. Four people in the Toronto region were sickened with the same E. coli several weeks ago after drinking unpasteurized apple cider. Over 20 people are sick with the same bug from lettuce in the Minnesota area. And so it goes.

How did my game end? I could hear the various cheers but was lost in dizziness and nausea and sweat, wondering when this would end. 
The trip home was uneventful; I was drained — figuratively and literally.
We lost.

Thanks to all the Australians I hung out with today and asked me about the Humboldt Broncos’ and hopefully I provided some insight into the role of (ice) hockey in the small and large communities throughout Canada.

Canada’s Good Butcher not so good: E. coli O157:H7 found in lean ground beef

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume the products described below due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

Check to see if you have the products in your home. If the products are in your home, do not consume them.

This warning was triggered by CFIA test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of these or other products. If products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through a Food Recall Warning.

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

30 sick from Salmonella linked to raw frozen chicken thingies in Canada

In an outbreak that begin May 2017 and continues, the Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting 30 cases of Salmonella Enteriditis between May 2017 and February 2018.

The news release came out last Thursday, two days, one day after the feds reminded Canadians on the importance of properly cooking such this.

Use a thermometer.

Currently, there are 30 cases of Salmonella Enteritidis illness in four provinces: Alberta (2), Ontario (17), Quebec (7), and New Brunswick (4). Four individuals have been hospitalized. Individuals became sick between May 2017 and February 2018. The average age of cases is 32 years, with ages ranging from 1 to 73 years. The majority of cases (57%) are male.

Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to poultry, including frozen raw breaded chicken products has been identified as a source of illness. Several individuals who became ill reported consuming a mix of poultry and frozen raw breaded chicken products. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting a food safety investigation into a source of the outbreak. At this time, there is no food recall warning associated with this outbreak. The outbreak investigation is ongoing.

Frozen raw breaded chicken products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned but they contain raw chicken and should be handled and prepared no differently from other raw poultry products.

The safety of these products rests with the consumer who is expected to cook it, according to the directions on the package.

In 2015, industry voluntarily developed additional labelling on frozen raw breaded chicken products that included more prominent and consistent messaging, such as “raw,” “uncooked” or “must be cooked” as well as explicit instructions not to microwave the product and they voluntarily introduced adding cooking instructions on the inner-packaging bags.

Microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded poultry products including chicken nuggets, strips or burgers is not recommended because of uneven heating.

Use a digital food thermometer to verify that frozen raw breaded chicken products have reached at least 74°C (165°F). 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 poultry and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing nuggets, strips or burgers.