Canadian Norovirus outbreak linked to live spot prawns

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is reporting an outbreak of Norovirus gastroenteritis in four Canadian provinces.

The forty-eight confirmed cases occurred in British Columbia (11), Alberta (12), Manitoba (19), and Ontario (6) during the weeks of May 8, 2022, through May 22, 2022.

All of the interviewed victims reported eating spot prawns before their illnesses occurred.

On May 31st, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CF’IA) issued a recall notice for several lots of Tri-Star Seafood Supply Ltd live spot prawns. The prawns were  sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario, and may have been distributed in other provinces and territories.

The recalled prawns were identified as:

Tri-Star Seafood Supply Ltd. live spot prawns:- Lot codes AJ200-021, CA001-1532, and CA001-1540. Variable package size. No UPC.

The CFIA warns that the agency’s ongoing investigation may lead to recalls of other products.

What consumers need to know

  • Acute gastrointestinal illnesses such as norovirus are common in North America and are very contagious, affecting all age groups. However, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, young children and the elderly are at risk for developing more serious complications, like dehydration.
  • Spot prawns contaminated with noroviruses may look, smell and taste normal. The following safe food-handling practices will reduce your risk of getting sick:
    • Do not eat, use, sell, or serve the recalled spot prawns. Check to see if you have the recalled spot prawns at home. If you do, throw them out and wash your hands.
    • Avoid eating raw or undercooked spot prawns. 
    • Eat spot prawns right away after cooking and refrigerate leftovers. 
    • Always keep raw and cooked spot prawns separate to avoid cross-contamination.
    • Do not use the same plate or utensils for raw and cooked spot prawns.
    • Wash your hands well with soap before and after handling any food. 
    • Be sure to clean and sanitize cutting boards, counters, knives and other utensils after preparing raw foods.
  • Noroviruses can be transmitted by ill individuals. Cleaning and disinfecting practices are the key to preventing further illnesses in your home.
    • Thoroughly clean contaminated surfaces, especially after an episode of illness.
    • After vomiting or diarrhea, immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with the virus (use hot water and soap).
    • If you have been diagnosed with norovirus illness or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not prepare food or pour drinks for other people while you have symptoms, and for the first 48 hours after you recover.

Read more about Norovirus in TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures, now available in digital, print and audiobook editions.

TAINTED formats 3
“Reads like a true crime novel” – Food Safety News

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