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CFIA Suspends Plant After Finding Listeria on Employee

After finding Listeria monocytogenes on the sleeve of a meat plant employee, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency suspended the license of a meat processing company in Edmonton, Alberta last week, saying the company had “failed to correct deficiencies” previously pointed out by the agency.

As a result of the positive Listeria test, Capital Packers Inc. is recalling certain ham and sausage products that may have been distributed across Canada because the products may be contaminated with the bacteria, though no products have tested positive, according to CFIA.

The meats subject to the recall were produced on November 7, 2012. The agency said that as the food safety investigation progresses, additional products and additional production dates may be identified, which could lead to a recall expansion.

“Capital Packers Inc. will not be able to resume operations until they have fully implemented the necessary corrective actions and the CFIA is fully confident in the plant’s capacity to effectively manage food safety risks.”

CFIA said there have been no reported illnesses and that the company is voluntarily recalling the products in question out of caution.

In 2008, a high-profile Listeria outbreak linked to deli meats from another Canadian company – Maple Leaf Foods – killed 22 people and sickened dozens of others.

“Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled,” CFIA reminded consumers in a press release. “Consumption of food contaminated with these bacteria may cause listeriosis, a foodborne illness. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness, however, infections during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.”

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