The recent supreme court decision on the deadliest foodborne disease outbreak in Canadian history

Gladys Osien and Ron Doering from Gowling WLG write in the latest Food in Canada that the listeriosis outbreak linked to cold cuts from a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto in 2008 resulted in 57 confirmed cases and 22 deaths. It was the deadliest foodborne disease outbreak in Canadian history. The recall reportedly cost the company $20 million.

A class action lawsuit from affected consumers and their families was settled quickly by Maple Leaf and its insurance company. But that was not the end of the matter. To carry out extensive sanitation, the plant was closed for several weeks with the result that retail customers and distributors did not obtain their usual supply. 424 Mr. Sub franchise operators sued Maple Leaf for lost sales and damage to reputation. In November 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada in a 5-4 majority decision dismissed the case against Maple Leaf with important implications for Canadian food companies.

The question before the Court boiled down to whether Maple Leaf owed the requisite duty of care to the franchisees, a necessary step in establishing whether the franchisees have the right to recover damages in the tort of negligence. The Court held that Maple Leaf did not owe such a duty, especially for the protection of purely economic interest.

A duty of care must establish above all else what the law calls proximity. The Court held that the Mr. Sub franchisees failed to establish the requisite qualities of closeness and directness between the parties. (You can see there is a lot of discretion here.) The Court instead determined that the proximity, established by the responsibility and undertaking to supply meat fit for human consumption, and the rights to receive a supply of safe goods was between Maple Leaf and consumers, not the franchisees. The court reinforced the need for proximity to establish duty of care.

A key factor in the Court’s ruling was the fact that the franchisees could have protected themselves in contract law. There were multipartite arrangements but these did not specifically address the liability for economic loss in the event of a failure to supply product. The Court was reluctant to impose a duty of care in circumstances where the parties could have protected themselves through contracts.

The decision in 8871682 Ontario Inc v. Maple Leaf Foods Inc 2020 SCC 35 has some important lessons for Canadian food companies.

Review supplier warranty agreements: The older of the authors remembers being quite surprised 20 years ago to learn that many large Canadian food companies didn’t even have such agreements. They had longstanding handshake or simple purchase arrangements but did not have legally-drafted contracts to clarify rights and responsibilities in the case of a recall, for example.

One company did not even realize that its main product had 22 ingredients and any one of them could cause a huge recall with serious economic cost. And suppliers too have to be careful; a manufacturer may insist that a supplier undertake to compensate for any and all losses from a voluntary recall, a liability that might far exceed the value of the sale.

Review insurance coverage: Over the years several of our clients have been surprised by wording in their policies. In one case, a claim for losses from a large recall was denied because the client had failed to fully meet Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) as the policy required even though another negligent party was the principal cause of the product contamination.

Review sourcing practices: Many supplier warranty agreements rely on audits to ensure compliance with the agreement. However, audits are notoriously unreliable, particularly if the product or ingredient is sourced outside Canada. A supplier may be meeting all GMPs on the Tuesday when the auditor is there but not on the Wednesday after he’s gone. After learning this the hard way, some companies source from domestic suppliers even if it would be cheaper to get the ingredient from abroad.

Food companies should not expect to recover certain economic losses from manufacturer recalls, unless they are protected by contract: A negligence action against a manufacturer for economic losses that are unconnected to a physical or mental injury, or to physical damage to property (ie. purely economic) are rarely rewarded in court. Courts do not accept that manufacturers owe a broad duty of care to distributors.

Every Canadian food company should review this case with its lawyer.

Ron Doering BA, LLB, MA, LLD is counsel and Gladys Osien BSc, MSc, JD is an associate in the Ottawa offices of Gowling WLG.

Funky duck: Processor goes full tilt on transparency

The kids in my lab had me buy a video camera in 1999 so we could film stuff and put it on the Intertubes long before youtube existed (and film my 2000 Ivan Parkin lecture at IAFP when I got turned away at the U.S. border).

Twenty years later, Leesburg, Ind.-based Maple Leaf Farms is offering a behind-the-scenes look at its duck farms with its new #MLFarmToFork campaign that focuses on transparency and the company’s commitment to operating responsibly.

According to Rita Jane Gabbett of Meating Place, Maple Leaf Farms will highlight its farm-to-fork process on social media through behind-the-scenes videos, farmer interviews and more.

“We want consumers to know the story behind our duck and our desire for continuous improvement,” explained Maple Leaf Farms Duck Marketing Manager Olivia Tucker. “We’re proud of our animal husbandry practices, our facilities and our people, and we want to showcase how vertical integration allows Maple Leaf Farms to produce the highest quality duck on the market.”

To explain vertical integration and how it benefits the entire supply chain, Maple Leaf Farms has created an animated video that outlines the production process and how products get to consumers’ tables. You can view the video at

Listeria redux: Maple Leaf to cut 400 jobs

I killed two people in a car accident when I was 18-years-old. I went to jail. It’s all on the Intertubes.

20080827bg_leaf07.JPGBut I’ve never hid from it.

Seven years after his cold-cuts killed 23 people and sickened 55 with Listeria, Maple Leaf president Michael McCain now says, it’s all about the money.

Fair comment: food is a low-margins-high-turnover kind of biz.

But to ignore the food safety aspects when your company has monumentally messed up is beyond belief.

Or just another day at the office.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc said on Wednesday it would cut 400 management jobs, or about 3 per cent of its work force, saying it was ready to streamline operations after starting up Canada’s biggest meat plant.

Nearly half of the positions are based in the Mississauga head office, said spokesman Dave Bauer. Sixty-four are based at the new Hamilton, meat plant, where analysts noted excess staff and supervisors during a recent tour, and the rest of the job cuts are scattered across Canada.

Senior management, led by chief executive officer Michael McCain, remains intact, Bauer said.

“After years of change and transformation, we’re now in a position to streamline the organization so we can operate as efficiently as possible,” Bauer said.

Does that include food safety?


Maple Leaf Foods blows itself

Eight years after Maple Leaf Foods cold cuts laden with Listeria killed 24 Canadians and sickened another 50, the company now announces, with fanfare, it will require all of its protein, ingredient and packaging suppliers to become food safety certified to a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standard in 2017.

Audits and inspections are never enough.

Organizations, groups, awards, they’re all designed to blow the insiders.

The families of the victims probably don’t feel they were blown.

Great. Make the data public.

  • More than 225,000 farms and food manufacturing facilities are certified to GFSI recognized standards globally.

No one cares if you kill people.

Maple Leaf is doing a tap-dance to avoid substantive issues.

  • Put a warning label on your cold-cuts, especially for expectant mothers;
  • make your testing results public; and as I frequently remind my daughters.
  • stop dicking around.

Regarding your audit claims, Maple Leaf sucks.

  • safety audits and inspections are a key component of the nation’s food safety system and their use will expand in the future, for both domestic and imported foodstuffs., but recent failures can be emotionally, physically and financially devastating to the victims and the businesses involved;
  • many outbreaks involve firms that have had their food production systems verified and received acceptable ratings from food safety auditors or government inspectors;
  • while inspectors and auditors play an active role in overseeing compliance, the burden for food safety lies primarily with food producers;
  • there are lots of limitations with audits and inspections, just like with restaurants inspections, but with an estimated 48 million sick each year in the U.S., the question should be, how best to improve food safety?
  • audit reports are only useful if the purchaser or  food producer reviews the results, understands the risks addressed by the standards and makes risk-reduction decisions based on the results;
  • there appears to be a disconnect between what auditors provide (a snapshot) and what buyers believe they are doing (a full verification or certification of product and process);
  • third-party audits are only one performance indicator and need to be supplemented with microbial testing, second-party audits of suppliers and the in-house capacity to meaningfully assess the results of audits and inspections;
  • companies who blame the auditor or inspector for outbreaks of foodborne illness should also blame themselves;
  • assessing food-handling practices of staff through internal observations, externally-led evaluations, and audit and inspection results can provide indicators of a food safety culture; and,
  • the use of audits to help create, improve, and maintain a genuine food safety culture holds the most promise in preventing foodborne illness and safeguarding public health.


ITALY-G8-G5-AGRICULTURE-FARMAudits and inspections are never enough: A critique to enhance food safety


Food Control

D.A. Powell, S. Erdozain, C. Dodd, R. Costa, K. Morley, B.J. Chapman


Internal and external food safety audits are conducted to assess the safety and quality of food including on-farm production, manufacturing practices, sanitation, and hygiene. Some auditors are direct stakeholders that are employed by food establishments to conduct internal audits, while other auditors may represent the interests of a second-party purchaser or a third-party auditing agency. Some buyers conduct their own audits or additional testing, while some buyers trust the results of third-party audits or inspections. Third-party auditors, however, use various food safety audit standards and most do not have a vested interest in the products being sold. Audits are conducted under a proprietary standard, while food safety inspections are generally conducted within a legal framework. There have been many foodborne illness outbreaks linked to food processors that have passed third-party audits and inspections, raising questions about the utility of both. Supporters argue third-party audits are a way to ensure food safety in an era of dwindling economic resources. Critics contend that while external audits and inspections can be a valuable tool to help ensure safe food, such activities represent only a snapshot in time. This paper identifies limitations of food safety inspections and audits and provides recommendations for strengthening the system, based on developing a strong food safety culture, including risk-based verification steps, throughout the food safety system.

57 sick including 24 dead in 2008 Maple Leaf Listeria outbreak: the scientific paper

Beginning in the summer of 2008, the deaths of two Toronto nursing home residents in were attributed to listeriosis infections. This eventually prompted an August 17, 2008 advisory by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Maple Leaf Foods, Inc. to avoid serving or consuming certain brands of deli meat as the products could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

ITALY-G8-G5-AGRICULTURE-FARMWhen genetic testing determined a match between contaminated meat products and listeriosis patients on Aug. 23, 2008, all products manufactured at Maple Leaf Foods plant 97B were recalled and the facility closed

Several weeks later, the company determined that organic material trapped deep inside the plant’s meat slicing equipment harbored Listeria, despite routine sanitization that met specifications of equipment manufacturers. In total, 57 cases of illness were detected, including 24 deaths, connected to the consumption of the plant’s contaminated deli meats.

Notable from the paper:

Plant inspections identified several areas of concern. A building construction project was initiated in April 2008. There was structural damage and poor maintenance in certain rooms containing RTE product and evidence of condensate dripping onto unpackaged finished product in a common refrigerated storage room. IMP documentation indicated that Listeria  spp. were detected at least 16 times between May 1 and August 16, 2008 in routine environmental swabs of food contact surfaces on lines A and B, 2 other production lines (lines C and D), and associated equipment. In response to each positive finding, the IMP staff sanitized production line surfaces and other areas where bacteria could grow. However, there was no analysis of trends over time to identify the underlying cause of the contamination. The cleaning and disinfection procedures at the IMP were inadequate. In addition, employee flow between rooms created opportunities for cross-contamination of finished product.

 Experts who investigated the source of product contamination at the IMP concluded that contaminated mechanical meat slicers were the most likely cause (Weatherill, 2009). As observed in previous outbreaks, meat slicers can provide a site for the growth of L. monocytogenes  and cross-contamination of finished products (Tompkin, 2002). Sanitation procedures used prior to the outbreak were ineffective at removing organic material harbored within the slicer.

listeria4As I have long maintained, the best food producers, processors, retailers and restaurants will go above and beyond minimal government and auditor standards and sell food safety solutions directly to the public. The best organizations will use their own people to demand ingredients from the best suppliers; use a mixture of encouragement and enforcement to foster a food safety culture; and use technology to be transparent — whether it’s live webcams in the facility or real-time test results on the website — to help restore the shattered trust with the buying public.

And the best cold-cut companies should stop dancing around and explicity tell pregnant women, old people and other immunocompromised folks, through labels or point-of-sale information, don’t eat this food unless it’s heated (watch the cross-contamination).


A multi-province outbreak of listeriosis occurred in Canada from June to November 2008. Fifty-seven persons were infected with 1 of 3 similar outbreak strains defined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and 24 (42%) individuals died. Forty-one (72%) of 57 individuals were residents of long-term care facilities or hospital inpatients during their exposure period. Descriptive epidemiology, product traceback, and detection of the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes in food samples and the plant environment confirmed delicatessen meat manufactured by one establishment and purchased primarily by institutions was the source of the outbreak. The food safety investigation identified a plant environment conducive to the introduction and proliferation of L. monocytogenes and persistently contaminated with Listeria spp. This outbreak demonstrated the need for improved listeriosis surveillance, strict control of L. monocytogenes in establishments producing ready-to-eat foods, and advice to vulnerable populations and institutions serving these populations regarding which high-risk foods to avoid.

Multi-Province Listeriosis Outbreak Linked to Contaminated Deli Meat Consumed Primarily in Institutional Settings, Canada, 2008

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, Volume: 12 Issue 8: August 10, 2015

Currie Andrea, Farber Jeffrey M., Nadon Céline, Sharma Davendra, Whitfield Yvonne, Gaulin Colette, Galanis Eleni, Bekal Sadjia, Flint James, Tschetter Lorelee, Pagotto Franco, Lee Brenda, Jamieson Fred, Badiani Tina, MacDonald Diane, the National Outbreak Investigation Team, Ellis Andrea, May-Hadford Jennifer, McCormick Rachel, Savelli Carmen, Middleton Dean, Allen Vanessa, Tremblay Francois-William, MacDougall Laura, Hoang Linda, Shyng Sion, Everett Doug, Chui Linda, Louie Marie, Bangura Helen, Levett Paul N., Wilkinson Krista, Wylie John, Reid Janet, Major Brian, Engel Dave, Douey Donna, Huszczynski George, Di Lecci Joe, Strazds Judy, Rousseau Josée, Ma Kenneth, Isaac Leah, and Sierpinska Urszula

Market food safety at retail so consumers can choose: Not training or technology

Maple Leaf Foods hosted its Sixth Annual Food Safety Symposium last week in Mississauga (that’s in Canada).

hucksterAccording to The Poultry Site, this year’s event was themed ‘People or Technology’, asking participants to debate which was the best investment to make a step change in food safety globally.

Dr. Randy Huffman, SVP Operations and Chief Food Safety Officer at Maple Leaf said, as many do, that food safety as a non-competitive issue and the company actively shares food safety learnings and promotes sharing of information among industry and government groups.

These are the wrong questions and wrong assumptions.

Yes, people need training – ever seen a peer-reviewed paper evaluating the effectiveness of such training?

Yes, new technology does wonderful things and also creates wonderful new opportunites for new bugs because food is a biological system that will always change.

Yes, food safety should not be a competitive issue and information should be shared.

But that’s not marketing at retail.

Any time I say, food safety should be marketed at retail – E. coli counts in spinach, Salmonella in eggs, Listeria in (Maple Leaf) cold cuts, I get told food safety is a non-competitive issue.

But I’m talking about marketing. People say the reason they buy local, organic, natural, sustainable, dolphin-free and hundreds of other categories is primarily because of safety.

market.naturalAs a consumer, I want to know which eggs have a history of low Salmonella counts. The technology exists and is being used to access complete restaurant  inspection reports with smart phones on those A-B-C rating in New York City.

Food safety may be non-competitive, but implementation is altogether different: some companies are better than others. As a parent doing all the grocery shopping, I want to know what companies are better at microbial food safety. As a PhD in food safety, I want to figure out how best to convey meaningful information.

But have your conferences, feel important, and read daily and bear witness to the outrageous levels of microbial food safety failures.

The kind that make people sick.

Same as it ever was: 3 years after listeria in Maple Leaf cold cuts killed 23 Canada still asleep

The Canadian government has fixed food safety.

They said so in a press release.

The person who is inexplicably still – still — Minister of Agriculture in Canada, Gerry-death-by-a-1,000-cold-cuts-Ritz, said tonight, "Food safety is a priority for this Government. We continue to work with consumers, producers, industry and our provincial and territorial partners to ensure that our food safety system remains one of the best in the world."

At least he didn’t say best in the world.

The self-adoration comes as the Government of Canada released its final report to Canadians on the action it has taken to respond to all recommendations by Ms. Sheila Weatherill outlined in the Report of the Independent Investigator into the 2008 Listeriosis Outbreak.

The Maple Leaf listeria-in-cold cuts outbreak that killed 23 people and sickened 55 in 2008. Self-adoration by government and health-types was rampant during the outbreak even though it was a disaster.

The bureaucrats talk about increased surveillance, more money for inspectors, better testing, more information, but provide little in the way of evidence to support the claim they have addressed all of Weatherill’s 57 recommendations.

Weatherill, who zeroed in on a "vacuum in senior leadership" among government officials, directed almost half of her recommendations on preventing another outbreak toward CFIA.

She also focused on the lack of food safety culture amongst health types and Maple Leaf.

"One of the tangible results of the recommendations is that they collectively impress on all stakeholders involved in food safety the need to adopt a culture of continuous improvement," Brian Evans, the government’s chief food safety officer, says in the report.

Not quite.

Culture encompasses the shared values, mores, customary practices, inherited traditions, and prevailing habits of communities. The culture of today’s food system (including its farms, food processing facilities, domestic and international distribution channels, retail outlets, restaurants, and domestic kitchens) is saturated with information but short on behavioral-change insights. Creating a culture of food safety requires application of the best science with the best management and communication systems, including compelling, rapid, relevant, reliable and repeated, multi-linguistic and culturally-sensitive messages.

And where is the compassionate concerned communicator, Michael McCain of Maple Leaf?

Government is fairly hopeless about these food safety things; and it’s not their job. Maple Leaf makes the profit, Maple Leaf product killed and sickened all those people, Maple Leaf should be leaders. Throwing around phrases like food safety culture because it is fashionable doesn’t count. Actions count.

The best food producers, processors, retailers and restaurants will go above and beyond minimal government and auditor standards and sell food safety solutions directly to the public. The best organizations will use their own people to demand ingredients from the best suppliers; use a mixture of encouragement and enforcement to foster a food safety culture; and use technology to be transparent — whether it’s live webcams in the facility or real-time test results on the website — to help restore the shattered trust with the buying public.

And the best cold-cut companies may stop dancing around and tell pregnant women, old people and other immunocompromised folks, don’t eat this food unless it’s heated (watch the cross-contamination though).

Victims of Maple Leaf Foods’ 2008 listeria outbreak still without compensation

Over time, actions are stronger than words.

Maple Leaf honcho Michael McCain may have won platitudes for his risk communication performance during the 2008 listeria-in-deli-meat fiasco that killed 23 and sickened 56 in Canada (not from me), but actions are the true test of words.

Walter Muller got sick from eating Maple Leaf salami in 2008. A year later he received a letter saying he would be compensated for his illness.

He’s still waiting.

"I think they’re waiting for people like me to die before they pay out," says Muller, who turns 69 next week. "There’s no reason why it should take three years to get compensated."

"We are dismayed and frustrated at how long this process has taken, given we paid $25 million to settle these claims almost three years ago," president and CEO Michael McCain said in a statement.

The company said it did everything it could to get money to victims, including contacting premiers to urge their provincial health authorities to reach a settlement.

Among the undisclosed number of claimants to the settlement money are the provincial health authorities, who want a share for their costs in treating people who contracted listeriosis.

"It’s only $750 to them but for me, it’s a big deal. I was hoping it would come in the spring, then in the summer and fall and then maybe in time for Christmas, but that doesn’t look like it will happen," says Muller, a Vancouver resident.

The court-appointed administrator of the settlement fund announced in late November that it has reached an agreement-in-principle with the health authorities on their share of the money. The fund, now estimated around $27 million, has been sitting in a trust as claimants wait for their cheques. No money can be distributed until all claimants have come forward.

For Muller, who got sick with diarrhea and stomach ailments after eating the infected meat, his $750 claim is one of the lowest-ranked. Estates of people who died from complications related to listeriosis are entitled to $120,000.

The byzantine world of government speak; E. coli O157 again in walnuts in Canada

In CFIA-speak, ‘no confirmed illnesses’ means there are sick people, but we can’t say so until we’re super-duper sure through testing, no matter how many more people get sick. It’s part of a disturbing trend where government agencies are pressured to downgrade the findings of epidemiology and rely only on positive test results. It’s on display in the Del Monte vs. Oregon lawsuit, and was on full display in the Maple Leaf listeria outbreak of 2008 that saw 23 people die and 53 others sickened; CFIA led with a press statement then “There have been no confirmed illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.”

So no one should be comforted after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reported this morning that certain prepackaged raw shelled walnut products described below are being voluntarily recalled because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

“There have been no confirmed illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.”


When no one is sick, CFIA says, “there have been no illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.”

It’s the kind of wiggle-room bureaucrats thrive on – and shows the overall importance of public health.

The following raw shelled walnut products, imported from USA and packaged in Canada, are affected by this alert.

President’s Choice
Raw California Walnut Halves Unsalted 250 g 0 60383 87185 7 Best Before 2012 OC 07
Reddi Snack Hand Selected
California Walnuts 350 g 0 64777 28695 1 16581

Earlier this year, 14 people were sickened after eating E. coli-contaminated walnuts distributed by Montreal-based Amira Enterprises.

One patient in Quebec with an underlying medical condition died during the outbreak, which also affected people in Ontario and New Brunswick.

Should people over 50 heat cold cuts to avoid listeria?

The risk may be small, but the failures are tragic.

Governments routinely warn that immunocompromised people, including expectant mothers and the elderly, should refrain from certain ready-to-eat refrigerated foods like deli meats and smoked salmon because of the risk of listeriosis.

Elizabeth Weise writes in today’s USA Today that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been saying for at least 11 years now that people over 50 and especially those over 65 should avoid hot dogs, lunch meats, cold cuts and other deli meats unless they are reheated to 165 degrees — "steaming hot" in CDC’s words.

The government also says you shouldn’t keep an open package of sliced deli meat more than five days, all to reduce the risk of infection from a bacteria called listeria. But some question whether the country’s been paying attention.

Barbara Resnick, incoming president of the American Geriatrics Society and a professor of nursing at the University of Maryland, knows of no one over that age who heats deli meats to that level and says she’s never seen a case of listeriosis in a patient.

Neil Gaffney, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service said, "When it comes to food safety, we’re serious: People at risk for listeriosis should not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats or deli meats unless they are reheated until steaming hot. Thoroughly reheating food can help kill any bacteria that might be present. If you cannot reheat these foods, do not eat them."

Mike Doyle, a professor of food microbiology at the University of Georgia said about 85% of listeriosis cases are linked to cold cuts or deli meats, and that today almost all packaged lunch meats contain either added sodium lactate, an acid formed by fermentation, or potassium lactate, fermented from sugar, as antimicrobials. That’s what he looks for when he buys cold cuts.

And based on FSIS risk-assessment data, meats sliced at the store pose a greater risk than meats pre-sliced at federally inspected establishments

Listeria and cold cuts were ranked just last week as the third worst combination of a food and a pathogen in terms of the burden they place on public health, costing $1.1 billion a year in medical costs and lost work days, according to a study by the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogen Institute.

Douglas Powell a professor of food safety at Kansas State University, said, "And you can’t see, taste or smell that it’s there.”

CDC also says don’t keep opened packages of lunch meat, or meat sliced at the local deli, for longer than three to five days. That’s another one no one pays attention to, says Kansas’ Powell.

"Anecdotally, lots of people keep cold cuts in their refrigerator far longer than they should. People keep them for one to two weeks. That’s the key message. If you get it from the deli counter, four days max."

What wasn’t included in the story is evidence of listeria-related tragedies in other countries – countries that may not have approved those listeria-restraining additives.

Twenty-three elderly people died in Canada in 2008 after eating listeria-laden cold-cuts from Maple Leaf Foods. Later that year, listeria in soft cheese in Quebec led to 38 hospitalizations, of which 13 were pregnant and gave birth prematurely. Two adults died and there were 13 perinatal deaths.

The New South Wales Food Authority said last month the Authority provides information on listeria to pregnant women to allow them to make an informed food choice regarding the risk and how to minimize it. It is not to say that every piece of deli meat has Listeria on it, but some foods have a higher potential rate of contamination than others, and it is better to avoid them.

The risk of acquiring listeriosis is low. However the consequences for a pregnant woman contracting listeriosis are dire.

While the Authority may be accused of ‘being over the top’, we may also be accused of neglecting pregnant women if we did not provide this information so pregnant women could make informed choices in what they eat.

Over the last 5 years in Australia there have been between 4 and 14 cases of listeriosis diagnosed in pregnant women or their babies each year. These infections have resulted in the deaths of 8 fetuses or newborn babies.