Canadian E. coli O157 outbreak linked to raw pet food


Four Canadians between the ages of 3 and 43 have beccome infected with E. coli O157 since March 2020, according to a report from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Two of the individuals were hospitalized.

All four individuals became ill following exposure to Carnivora brand frozen raw pet food purchased at various pet stores.

There have been no reports of sick pets.

The four genetically linked outbreak cases were reported from British Columbia (1 case), Alberta (2 cases) and Manitoba (1 case).

Carnivora brand raw pet food is manufactured by Riveriene Farm Ltd. o/a Carnivora Pet Foods, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and is distributed through retailers across Canada.

Carnivora has recalled the following six items, which may be contaminated with E. coli O157.

  • Carnivora Brand Whole Animal Chicken Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit, Ultra Premium Fresh Frozen Patties for Dogs & Cats (4 lb / 1820g bag; UPC 689076622271; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)
  • Carnivora Brand Chicken Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit (25 lb / 11.36 kg Bulk Box; UPC 689076619677; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)
  • Carnivora Brand Whole Animal Beef Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit, Ultra Premium Fresh Frozen Patties for Dogs & Cats (4 lb / 1820g Bag; UPC 689076622370; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)
  • Carnivora Brand Beef Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit (25 lb / 11.36 kg Bulk Box; UPC 689076621076; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)
  • Carnivora Brand Whole Animal Turkey Diet, Ultra Premium Fresh Frozen Patties for Dogs & Cats (4 lb / 1820g Bag; UPC 689076623971; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)
  • Carnivora Brand Turkey Diet (25 lb / 11.36 kg Bulk Box; UPC 689076624800; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)

The approximately 1803 recalled units were sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and may also have been distributed elsewhere in Canada.

Pet foods manufactured for export to the USA, the European Union and other countries must be accompanied by an export certificate certifying compliance with the requirements of the destination country. Likewise, pet foods imported into Canada must be accompanied by a government certificate attesting to the safety of the products.

Yet pet foods manufactured in Canada purely for domestic consumption fall into a regulatory No Man’s Land and are not subject to ANY requirements under either the Health of Animals Act or the Food and Drugs Act.

PHAC offers the following information and advice for consumers:

  • If you have the affected product, do not feed it to your pet. Consumers should immediately stop using any of the affected pet food products and contact the retailer where they purchased the affected product for a full refund or exchange.
  • Wash and sanitize any containers, utensils and surfaces that the raw foods touched before using them again. This includes countertops, microwaves and refrigerators.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after feeding, handling or cleaning up after pets. Animals fed raw meat diets are more likely to be shedding harmful bacteria like Salmonella and dangerous strains of E. coli even when they appear healthy, compared to those fed commercial kibble or other cooked diets. Regularly clean surfaces that come into contact with pet food or pets.
  • When possible, store all pet food and treats away from where human food is stored or prepared and away from reach of young children.
  • If you suspect you have become ill after being exposed to frozen raw pet food, or pets fed these diets, and have symptoms consistent with E. coli O157 infection, talk with your health care provider.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada does not recommend feeding raw pet food to pets, especially in households with young children, or individuals who have conditions that compromise their immune system that put them at greater risk for more serious illness. However, if you choose to feed your pet a raw food diet, it is recommended that you buy from companies that use meat-derived ingredients that have been prepared in sanitary conditions and passed inspection for human consumption. Also look for companies that have a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points protocol in place, which sets safety standards and practices, and helps to greatly reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency does not post recalls of either domestic or imported pet foods. Pet food recalls, if they are reported at all on a Government of Canada come under the heading of a Consumer Product.

It is only when a pet food has been linked to human illnesses or to widespread – and usually international – pet illnesses that Canadians learn about a contamination issue. 

Bison meat from Canada blamed for US outbreak of E. coli illnesses


Ground meat supplied as Bison Burgers and/or Buffalo Burgers is responsible for 21 cases of shigatoxin-producing E. coli infections in seven US states according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The outbreak includes infections due to two different serotypes of shigatoxin-producting E. coli. Six of the victims were infected with E. coli O103, 13 with E. coli O121. Two victims were infected with both outbreak strains.

Eight individuals have been hospitalized. No cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) have been reported.

Confirmed cases are reported in Connecticut (1), Florida (4), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (2), New York (9), and Pennsylvania (3).

The source of the outbreak has been traced through epidemiology and traceback activities to ground bison meat supplied by Northfork Bison Distributions Inc. of St.-Léonard, Québec (Canada).

The company is recalling its ground bison, referred to as Bison Ground, and its ground bison patties, referred to as Bison Burgers and/or Buffalo Burgers, produced between February 22 and April 30, 2019, according to the US Food and Drug Adminsitration (FDA).

Recalled ground bison was sold to distributors as ground bison and bison patties, referred to as Bison Burgers and/or Buffalo Burgers. Recalled ground bison was also sold to retailers in 4-ounce burger patties.

The bison patties were sold to retailers in 4 x 4-ounce blue boxes under the Northfork Bison label with expiration dates up to October 8, 2020.

A formal recall notice has not been posted on the FDA website as of this evening.

Northfork also has initiated a recall of several products distributed across Canada, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), including:

  • Natural Frontier Foods brand Bison – ground meat (280g; UPC 6 76842 00147 7; Expiry codes EXP 190311, EXP 190314, EXP 190315, EXP 190316, EXP 190317, EXP 190318)
  • Sensations brand Extra Lean Ground Bison (280g; UPC 6 23682 11159 0; Expiry codes EXP 190311, EXP 190314, EXP 190315, EXP 190316, EXP 190317, EXP 190318)
  • La Terre des Bisons brand Bison ground (lean) (1.5 lb; UPC 96768420002598; Packed on 19-02-22, 19-02-25, 19-02-26, 19-02-27, 19-02-28, 19-03-01)
  • Northfork Canadian Bison Ranch brand Bison ground regular (1.25 kg; UPC 86768420002577; Packed on 19-02-22, 19-02-25, 19-02-26, 19-02-27, 19-02-28, 19-03-01)
  • Northfork Canadian Bison Ranch brand Bison ground regular (4.54 kg /10 lb; UPC 86768420002263; Packed on 19-02-22, 19-02-25, 19-02-26, 19-02-27, 19-02-28, 19-03-01)
  • Northfork Canadian Bison Ranch brand Bison ground 10 lbs regular (10 lb; UPC 96768420111061; Packed on 19-02-22, 19-02-25, 19-02-26, 19-02-27, 19-02-28, 19-03-01)
  • Northfork Canadian Bison Ranch brand Bison ground 1 lb regular (0.45 kg / 1 lb; UPC 96768420111054; Packed on 19-02-22, 19-02-25, 19-02-26, 19-02-27, 19-02-28, 19-03-01)
  • Northfork Canadian Bison Ranch brand Bison Burger 20 x 8oz (2 lb; UPC 96768420111092; Packed on 19-02-22, 19-02-25, 19-02-26, 19-02-27, 19-02-28, 19-03-01)
  • Northfork Canadian Bison Ranch brand Bison Burger 4oz x 4 (1 lb; UPC 96768420111184; Packed on 19-02-22, 19-02-25, 19-02-26, 19-02-27, 19-02-28, 19-03-01)

There have been no reported illnesses in Canada associated with the recalled items.

CDC offers the following advice to consumers, restaurants, and retailers

  • Consumers should not eat, and restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve, recalled ground bison products.
  • Consumers who have recalled ground bison burger patties in their home should not eat them. Throw them away or return them to the store for a refund. Even if some of the recalled patties have been eaten and no one got sick, do not eat them.
    • Wash and sanitize places where recalled ground bison products were stored: countertops and refrigerator drawers or shelves. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.
    • When ordering at a restaurant, ask that ground bison burgers be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F.
  • Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell recalled ground bison and should check freezers and storage for recalled products. Restaurants and retailers should check with their supplier to determine if their ground bison has been recalled.

 

Compliments brand chicken strips linked to Salmonella illnesses in Canada


Sofina Foods Inc. (Sofina) has recalled Compliments brand raw, breaded chicken strips after the product was implicated in a Salmonella outbreak, according to a recall notice posted on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website.

The public is advised to avoid consuming the following product, and to discard the product or return it to the place of purchase.

Compliments brand Chicken Strips – Breaded Chicken Cutlettes – Uncooked (907g; Product code (Outer package) 2019 NO 24 / (Inner package) 3288M; UPC 0 57742 33687 0)

The chicken strips were sold nationally until May 1, 2019 but some consumers may still have the product in their freezer.

This is one of 17 Salmonella outbreaks traced to raw, breaded chicken products in Canada since May 2017. The most recent outbreak was declared over by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on May 13th.

Symptoms of Salmonella illness may include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever. Typically, symptoms appear from six to 72 hours following infection, and can last up to a week.

The very young, the elderly, pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems may experience more severe symptoms, including dehydration or potentially life-threatening systemic infection.

Individuals who consumed a raw, breaded chicken product and experienced symptoms of Salmonella infection should consult a healthcare provider.

Frozen, breaded chicken strips or nuggets are raw products and should be handled with care. PHAC recommends the following precautions when preparing these products:

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked frozen breaded chicken products. Cook all frozen raw breaded chicken products to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure that they are safe to eat. Use a digital food thermometer to verify the temperature. Insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the product, all the way to the middle. Oven-safe meat thermometers that are designed for testing whole chicken and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing nuggets, strips or burgers.
  • Microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded chicken products – including chicken nuggets, strips, burgers, popcorn chicken or chicken fries – is not recommended because of the possibility of uneven heating.
  • Always follow the cooking instructions on the package, including for products labelled Uncooked, Cook and Serve, Ready to Cook, and Oven Ready.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling frozen raw breaded chicken products.
  • Use a separate plate, cutting board and utensils when handling frozen raw breaded chicken products to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
  • Do not re-use plates, cutting boards or utensils that have come in contact with frozen raw breaded chicken products to serve the cooked product unless they have been thoroughly washed.