Raw oysters linked to cross-border Norovirus outbreak

Oysters from British Columbia, Canada, have been linked to at least 326 cases of norovirus gastroenteritis since mid-January in four Canadian provinces and two US states.

Image courtesy of Public Health Agency of Canada

Norovirus cases linked to consumption of raw or lightly cooked oysters have been reported in British Columbia (262), Alberta (1), Saskatchewan (1), and Ontario (15), according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

On March 18, 2022, the BC Centre for Disease Control alerted restaurants and retail establishments in the province to “reports of norovirus illness associated with the consumption of raw and lightly cooked oysters,” adding that the province was investigating the illness reports.

The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed 29 outbreak cases. All twenty-nine victims became ill after eating raw oysters at Travail Kitchen in Robbinsdale, MN on March 20. The oysters served were Stellar Bay Gold oysters harvested on March 10 from Deep Bay 14-8 CLF #1407063 in British Columbia, Canada.

Eighteen residents of Washington reported norovirus-like illness after eating BC oysters from harvest area BC 14-8 since March 7, 2022, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

On February 18, 2022, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced the first in a series of recalls of raw oysters harvested from “Subarea 14-8.” This harvest subarea is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, and facing the west coast of Denman Island.

Additional recalls were issued through March 2022, expanding the recall to an additional subharvest area (14-15) and to multiple harvest and processing dates.

Consult the following individual recall notices for additional details on harvest dates, lot codes and product distribution.

The outbreak and product traceback investigations are ongoing, and there may be additional recalls. Follow eFoodAlert to stay informed.

What is norovirus?

Norovirus is a common cause of gastrointestinal illness, and is highly contagious. It can be transmitted by eating a contaminated food, or by touching a contaminated surface and then handling food without washing your hands.

Norovirus symptoms can begin as soon as 12 hours after exposure to the virus, and usually consist of diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramps. In most cases, the illness is of short duration, lasting just a day or two.

Although the symptoms are of relatively short duration and are self-limiting, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, young children and the elderly are at risk for developing more serious complications, like dehydration.

PHAC recommends:

  • Do not eat, use, sell, or serve the recalled oysters. 
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked oysters to reduce your risk of foodborne illness and follow proper food handling practices. 
  • Cook oysters to an internal temperature of 90° Celsius (194° Fahrenheit) for a minimum of 90 seconds.
  • Discard any oysters that did not open while cooking.
  • Eat oysters right away after cooking and refrigerate leftovers.
  • Always keep raw and cooked oysters separate to avoid cross-contamination. 
  • Do not use the same plate or utensils for raw and cooked shellfish, and wash counters and utensils with soap and warm water after preparation.
  • 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.

If you develop symptoms of norovirus

  • Thoroughly clean contaminated surfaces, and disinfect using chlorine bleach, 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.

Find more information on the risks associated with eating raw and undercooked food in TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures, available in digital, print and audiobook editions.

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

Recalls and Alerts: February 5 – 6, 2017

Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

United States

Food Safety Recall: Johnson’s Sausage Shoppe, Inc. (Rio, WI) recalls several varieties of North Oak, Johnson’s Sausage Shoppe Inc., and Twisted Oak Farms Beef Jerky (Wisconsin legend with the number 293 on the label or the package) because the jerky was not properly inspected prior to sale. The products were sold at retail stores (quarter-pound packages) and through distributors (no pre-printed weight) on or before January 5, 2017).

Food Safety Recall: Following the closure by the Oregon Department of Agriculture of the commercial crab fishery from the north jetty of Coos Bay to Heceta Head, north of Florence, due to elevated levels of domoic acid in crab viscera, Pacific Seafood and Hallmark Fisheries have recalled Whole, wild-caught, cooked Dungeness Crab. Consumers who purchased this product from Fred Meyer stores (February 3rd – 4th), QFC stores (February 1st – 3rd) or Haggen Northwest Fresh stores in Washington, Oregon and California (February 1st – 3rd) should discard the product or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Canada

Allergy Alert: Bramic Sales Inc. recalls Chiffon brand Margarine (227g; UPC 7 52046 32111 2; all lot codes where milk is not declared) due to undeclared milk. The product was distributed to retailers in Alberta and Ontario.

Allergy Alert: Castle Cheese (West) Inc. recalls Garden Choice brand Cheeses due to undeclared wheat. The recalled products were distributed to hotels, restaurants and institutions in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Please refer to the notice for a detailed list of products.

Safety Recall: National Smokeless Tobacco Co. recalls certain NSTC Copenhagen and Skoal products after receiving complaints from US consumers of metal objects, including sharp metal objects, found in select cans. The recalled products were sold in Canada by Costco Wholesale. Please refer to the recall notice for a detailed list of affected products.

Europe

Food Safety Recall Update (Ireland): Avoca updates its recall notice for Avoca Hummus (264g) and Avoca Colcannon (550g) to correct the Hummus Use by date to 09.02.17. The recall was initiated due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.

 

Some supermarket chains post recall notices on their web sites for the convenience of customers. To see whether a recalled food was carried by your favorite supermarket, follow the live link to the supermarket’s recall website.

*The Kroger umbrella encompasses numerous supermarket, marketplace and convenience store chains
**Includes Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs and Pak N’ Save.

Smoked Salmon and Salmonella Thompson – Update #3

The following contains updated information and is current as of October 8, 2012. Updated information is indicated in red.

CDC, FDA, and USDA are cooperating in an ongoing investigation of Salmonella Thompson illnesses that may be linked to a concurrent outbreak in the Netherlands.

The US investigation began last month (September) into 85 cases of a single genetic type of Salmonella Thompson that were reported by 27 states since July 1st, according to CDC spokesperson Lola Russell. Ten people have been hospitalized; there have been no deaths.

This is a fairly common strain of Salmonella Thompson, and CDC would normally expect to see approximately 30 “background” cases during the same period.

The epidemiological investigation into the source of the 85 illnesses is being carried out by the various state health agencies in cooperation with CDC. It would not be surprising, according to CDC, if some of the 85 cases are found to be unrelated to the outbreak.

CDC is not yet ready to release a list of the affected states; however, eFoodAlert has learned that the following states are in the process of investigating one or more Salmonella Thompson illnesses:

  • Alabama: 1 case
  • Arizona: 1 case; a child
  • California: “The California Department of Public Health has just begun its investigation into the outbreak in Europe of Salmonella Thompson illnesses that are linked to smoked salmon. We don’t have any information to share at this time.”
  • Colorado: 2 cases
  • Illinois: 2 cases
  • Maryland: 10 cases; age range 5 years to 77 years; most cases in the Baltimore metropolitan area
  • Nebraska: 6 cases; age range is 3 months to 61 years; two people hospitalized; illnesses reported from the east central region of Nebraska
  • New Hampshire: 1 case; an adult resident of Rockingham County who was hospitalized, but has since recovered
  • New York: 4 cases; no geographic cluster
  • Texas: 1 case
  • Virginia: 1 case

No cases are under investigation at this time in Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Washington or Wyoming.

All of the people with whom I’ve communicated at the federal and state level have emphasized that there has not been an epidemiological link made between the illnesses under investigation in the USA and the consumption of smoked salmon. Nevertheless, the outbreak strain appears to be the same as the strain that is behind the Dutch outbreak, and CDC is recommending that the public avoid eating smoked salmon originating from the Dutch producer.

On September 28th, the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority announced the recall of smoked salmon manufactured by Foppen Paling en Zalm and sold through major supermarket chains, including Aldi and Albert Heijn.

On October 1st, the Netherlands issued an alert through the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, notifying member countries that a sample of smoked salmon originating from Greece was contaminated with Salmonella Thompson. Associated Press reports that the contaminated smoked salmon was processed at Foppen’s factory in Greece.

Foppen has initiated a recall of the following products, sorted by retailer:

Albert Heijn

  • AH smoked salmon cubes. EAN: 8710400130574
  • AH smoked salmon. EAN: 8710400383932
  • AH smoked salmon. EAN: 8718265066915
  • AH salmon sandwich slices. EAN: 8710400383956
  • AH hot smoked salmon. All
  • AH salmon salad. EAN: 8718265473072
  • Euro Shopper smoked salmon. EAN: 8712224125903
  • AH Excellent Scottish salmon fillet. EAN: 8710400383970
  • AH Excellent salmon season. EAN: 8718265473164
  • AH Excellent smoked salmon fillet. All
  • AH pure & honest Sockeye salmon. EAN: 8710400628101

Aldi

  • Smoked salmon fillet. 200 grams; EAN: with number 23066250 GB-6115EG; Foppen Eel and Salmon on back of package

Hema

  • Salmon sliced. ​​100 grams; Item number 27552001
  • Salmon Slices. 100g; Item number 27552003

Makro

  • Horeca Select Graved Lachs. EAN: 8711576082247
  • Foppen Salmon. 3 x 100 grams; EAN: 8712224140005
  • Aro salmon sliced. ​​200 grams; EAN: 8711576041671
  • Catering selectable pcs salmon slices. EAN: 8711576082285
  • Catering select salmon pieces. EAN: 8711576086474
  • Catering select salmon slit. EAN: 8711576082278
  • Toast Salmon. 283 grams; Foppen EAN: 8712224129314
  • Catering select salmon slices. EAN: 8711576082261
  • Catering select sockeye salmon. EAN: 8711576084531
  • Catering select salmon toast. EAN: 8711576154890

Plus

  • Plus Salmon fillet. All
  • Plus Sockeye salmon, sliced. ​​EAN: 8710624991289
  • Plus Salmon slit. EAN: 8710624938246
  • Salmon sliced. ​​100 grams; EAN: 8710624943837

Dirk van den Broek, Bas van der Heijden and Digros

  • Salmon sliced. ​​200 grams; EAN: 8710871082907

Coop, Coop Super

  • Coop selectable long sliced ​​salmon. 125g
  • Sockeyezalm sliced. ​​125g
  • Sockeyezalm gravad lachs. 125g; EAN: 8712224129321

BONI, CoopCodis and Jan Linders

  • Smoked Salmon Salad (craft box). EAN: 8710378571645

Boni, MCD, Agri Market, Coop, Super Coop, Dane, Dekamarkt, Bas van der Heijden, Dirk van den Broek, Digros, EMTÉ Hoogvliet, Jan Linders, Nettorama, Poiesz, Plus, Vomar, Spar

  • Vismarine Scottish salmon fillet. EAN: 8710624008383
  • Vismarine 100 grams carved salmon. EAN: 8710624008369
  • Vismarine 200 grams carved salmon. EAN: 8710624008321
  • Salmon sliced. ​​200 grams; EAN: 8712224127945
  • Vismarine Sandwich Salmon. 100g; EAN: 8710624100254

Jan Linders

  • Jan Linders Smoked Salmon Salad, 150g. EAN: 8710378571645
  • Jan Linders Salad with salmon. EAN: 8711606069613

(Super) Coop

  • Smoked Salmon Salad 150g. EAN: 8710378571645

Boni

  • Smoked Salmon Salad 150g. EAN: 8710378571645

Jumbo

  • Salad with Salmon. EAN: 8711715891341

C1000

  • Salad with Salmon. EAN: 8710408129464

Dekamarkt

  • Salad with salmon. EAN: 8711606048014

Poiesz

  • Salad with salmon. EAN 8711606057856

Vomar

  • Salad with Salmon. EAN 8718204009454

Hoogvliet

  • Salad with Salmon. EAN 8711606159338

Plus

  • Salad with salmon. EAN 8710624968977

EMTÉ

  • All day fresh Salad with salmon. EAN 8711606001903

Fano

  • Fano Pasta Salmon Salad, 2.5kg bucket. EAN 8710773130614

The implicated product was sold in the USA through Costco, as Foppen Norwegian Smoked Salmon Slices (12 oz) and Kirkland Signature Norwegian Imported Smoked Salmon (2 x 12 oz). FDA is working to determine whether any other retailers in the USA carried the Foppen smoked salmon.

The recalled products were exported to a number of countries in addition to the USA, including Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Mexico, Switzerland and Taiwan. The China Post reported today that Costco Wholesale Corp has withdrawn all smoked salmon processed by Foppen from its Taiwan stores.

Costco has issued the following advisory to its members/customers:

The Foppen Company, located in Holland, has today announced an International recall of various smoked salmon items, including the Foppen Smoked Salmon slices (item #7859) or the Kirkland Signature Norwegian Smoked Salmon 2 Pack (item #7070). This recall has been announced due to possible salmonella contamination. The dates ranges are Sept 1 2012 through Oct 1 2012 for both items.

Do not eat any of your remaining smoked salmon and return it to Costco for a full refund.  None of the Costco salmon has tested positive for salmonella, and no illnesses have been reported to Costco.

For more information, please visit http://www.foppensalmon.com.

According to the Hawaii Department of Health, none of the recalled smoked salmon was shipped to Costco in that state.

Even though CDC and state health authorities have not yet established a link between the smoked salmon and this outbreak strain, CDC recommends that the public should not consume smoked salmon products manufactured by Foppen at this time.