US exports Cyclospora outbreak to Canada


The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has received reports of 37 confirmed cases of Cyclospora illnesses in Ontario (26), Quebec (10) and Newfoundland and Labrador (1).

The infections developed between mid-May and mid-June. One person has been hospitalized.

PHAC considers the outbreak to be ongoing, as the agency continues to receive reports of recent illnesses.

At least some of the outbreak victims report having eaten certain Fresh Express brand salad products containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage and carrots before they fell ill. The rest of the cases are still under investigation.

On June 29, 2020, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced a recall of twelve varieties of Fresh Express brand salad products, which had been imported from the USA.

At the time of the recall, no Canadian illnesses associated with these products had been reported to PHAC.

The salad mixes implicated in this outbreak, and in a concurrent 8-state outbreak in the US, were produced at the Fresh Express facility located in Streamwood, Illinois. FDA is conducting a detailed traceback investigation into the source of the contamination.

The Cyclospora outbreak in the US has spread to 8 midwestern states, and has sickened at least 509 individuals as of CDC’s most recent (July 9, 2020) update. Thirty-three people have been hospitalized.

Lab-confirmed cases have been reported in Illinois (151), Iowa (160), Kansas (5), Minnesota (63), Missouri (46) Nebraska (48), North Dakota (6), and Wisconsin (30).

The following companies have announced product recalls in the USA due to Cyclospora contamination. Please click on the links for additional information on recalled products.

The recalled products have been distributed nationwide across Canada and in the following US states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. 

Products may have been further distributed and sent to retailers in additional states, according to FDA.

Consumers in Canada and the USA should check their refrigerators and discard any recalled products with production codes beginning with lot code “Z177” or a lower number and have best before dates up to and including 20JUL08 – 20JUL14. This includes Fresh Express brand products in Canada and both Fresh Express and the above-mentioned store brands in the USA.

Symptoms of Cyclospora infection usually begin within one week of consuming a contaminated product and may include: watery diarrhea, abdominal bloating and gas, fatigue (tiredness), stomach cramps, loss of appetite, weight loss, mild fever, and/or nausea. Symptoms may disappear and then return over a period of several weeks without treatment.

If you think you may have eaten a recalled product and are experiencing these symptoms, please consult a health care professional without delay.





Two viral gastroenteritis outbreaks in Québec linked to Chilean IQF raspberries

The Québec Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) has confirmed 95 cases of viral gastroenteritis in two separate outbreak clusters linked to consumption of raspberry cake.

According to MAPAQ, the raspberries used in the cakes were imported from Chile.

The outbreak details were provided to eFoodAlert by MSSS in response to an email request.

Although the MSSS refers to the outbreak cases as gastroenteritis of possible viral origin, related recall notices refer specifically to Norovirus.

The first cluster comprised 65 victims, with an attack rate of 62%. The second cluster consisted of 30 individuals with an attack rate of 60%.

Symptoms appeared within 24 hours and consisted of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. None of the outbreak victims were hospitalized, and none consulted a doctor.

Neither outbreak cluster involved hospitals, seniors’ residences, or nursing homes.

MSSS has alerted its provincial and federal counterparts, and is not aware of any related case reports from regions of Québec or other parts of Canada.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has not replied to eFoodAlert’s request for information.

Both the Ministère d’Agriculture, Pêcheries et Alimentation de Québec (MAPAC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have posted recall notices for raw, frozen raspberries and for other food items made from the implicated raspberries.

Consumers and food service workers should discard or return any items that appear on the recalled products lists.





Possible Canadian Norovirus outbreak linked to imported raspberries

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation into the possible Norovirus contamination of products containing Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) raspberries.

At least one product recall has been triggered by findings emanating from a foodborne disease outbreak investigation.

In response to an inquiry from eFoodAlert, a CFIA spokesperson stated that the recall in question was associated with raspberries from Québec.

The Ministre d’Agriculture, Pêcheries et Alimentation de Québec (MAPAQ) has posted recall notices indicating the origin of the raspberries to be Chile.

As of June 5, 2019, the following recalls are in effect:

The current situation is reminiscent of a 2017 Norovirus outbreak that also was traced to imported IQF raspberries.

Between March 2017 and July 2017, the consumption of frozen raspberries imported from China was blamed for 615 confirmed cases of Norovirus in Québec. Many of the cases occured in seniors’ residences and child daycare centers.

Symptoms of Norovirus infection include nausea, vomiting and copious watery diarrhea, typically lasting from 24 to 60 hours in healthy adults.

Young children and the elderly are susceptible to severe dehydration. Approximately 1% of Norovirus victims may require hospitalization as a result of their illness.

Consumers who have purchased any of the recalled products should either discard them or return them to the place of purchase.