Craig Takeuchi of Straight writes several more cases of Salmonella have been reported in an outbreak across Canada linked to a recalled frozen raw chicken product.
The Pubic Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, and provincial and territorial health partners have been investigating and issued a public notice about the Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak on June 2.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency had issued a food recall warning on June 2 for a frozen raw breaded chicken product: No Name brand chicken burgers (1 kilogram) from Loblaw Companies Limited with a best before date of February 6, 2019 (with UPC code 0 60383 16636 6). The product was distributed nationally.
Several affected individuals in the outbreak had reported consuming the product.
As of June 18, there were nine additional cases of illness to increase the total number of infections to 68 individuals. Eight of those cases are in B.C., and the largest number is in Quebec, where there are 23 cases.
So far, 15 people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported.
Canadians are advised not to consume the product and to either dispose of it or return it to the store it was purchased from while restaurants are advised not to serve it. Those who do not have the original packaging and are uncertain if it is included in the food recall are advised to throw it out to be safe.
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.
Restaurants are always faced with the problem of rapid staff turnover rates resulting in an on-going regime of constant training. Fair enough but are new staff being trained in food safety? In certain provinces only one staff in five on any given shift are required to have some sort of food safety training through a professional organization. Theoretically, on-site managers will have taken the course in the hopes of shedding some of that knowledge to their staff. The concern, however, is that some managers simply don’t care about food safety and information is not being relayed to front line service staff. That’s when typically the public, you, barf. It is one thing to train someone on the basics of food safety in a classroom setting but it is another thing to change ones’ behaviours and habits when dealing with issues on food safety. For instance, this is a picture of an undercooked chicken burger served to a customer during a lunch rush. The manager was more concerned about dealing with the influx of customers than paying attention to food safety, as a result the cooks followed suit and a raw burger was served. Managers have a responsibility to promote safe food practices and encourage staff to do the same. It apparently seems that attitudes and behaviours tend to change when something horrible happens, like a foodborne outbreak. It is time to be proactive and not reactive.
On the 7/14/09 edition of the Today Show, Martha Stewart cooked “Zesty Chicken Burgers” for Meredith Viera and a somewhat reluctant Matt Lauer. While Martha was going on about how special chicken burgers are, Matt quietly asked a food safety question.
Matt: “Obviously people are going to say you have to be careful how to cook a chicken burger. You have to get it to a certain temperature. Is that about right?”
Martha: “Um. Yeah. Well, you’ll see. It’s… It’ll won’t be pink inside. It’ll get …
Meredith: “It will have to be white inside.”
Martha: “Yeah, all the way.”
And then on to how beautiful they are. Martha went on from touching raw chicken to touching the bun she served Matt’s finished burger on. He turned away from the camera both times he “took a bite” and claimed they were very good. Who knows if he really ate the potentially killer chicken burger. I wouldn’t have.