E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is alerting Canadians to an outbreak of fourteen cases of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses linked to consumption of Hankook brand kimchi products.

As of today, outbreak cases have been confirmed in Alberta (13) and Saskatchewan (1).

The first case was reported during the week of December 5, 2021, and the most recent case during the week of January 2, 2022.

Hankook Original Kimchi, 1670 g - UnitThe Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a recall warning for the following product on January 28, 2022.

  • Hankook (Korean characters only) brand Original Kimchi, 1670g. UPC 6 23431 00030 4. Best before 22JA29.

The recalled product was sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may result in the recall of additional products.

People infected with E. coli O157:H7 can develop a wide range of symptoms, which can appear between one day and ten days after consuming a contaminated food. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others may feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. In some cases, individuals become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

Symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection may include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • mild fever
  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea

The following advice from the PHAC applies to individuals, as well as retailers, distributors, manufacturers and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and long-term care homes, across Canada:

  • Do not eat, use, sell or serve the recalled kimchi or any products made with the kimchi. Check to see if you have recalled food products at home. If you do, throw them out and wash your hands.
  • Clean and sanitize all surfaces and storage areas that recalled kimchi or any products made with the recalled kimchi may have come in contact with, including countertops, containers, utensils, freezers, and refrigerators.
  • If you have been diagnosed with an E. coli infection or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not cook food for other people.
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