Canadian grocery chain Loblaw Companies Ltd. recalled two different raw, frozen chicken products in the past two days because they tested positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella that has infected people in three provinces.
Several of the infected people reported eating the recalled products before becoming ill, according to an outbreak notice posted July 21 by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The implicated products are No Name brand “Chicken Nuggets” and unbranded “$10 Chicken Fries.”
There is great concern that consumers may have the contaminated products in their home freezers because of their best-before dates, which are in March and May of 2019. Loblaw Companies distributed the products nationwide in Canada.
Canadian health officials reported samples of both products tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis. No one should consume the products. Retailers and restaurants should not sell the products, officials advised.
“The positive food samples had genetic fingerprints — using whole genome sequencing — that matched the genetic fingerprints of the cases of human illness reported in these outbreaks,” according to the outbreak notice from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Seven people from three provinces are confirmed with infections. One has been hospitalized. The provinces with confirmed cases are British Columbia with 3 cases, Alberta with 1, and Ontario with 3. Officials have not received any reports of deaths.
Victims range in age from 1 to 42 years old. They became sick in June, according to health officials. The majority of patients, 57 percent, are male.
Consumers can identify the recalled products by looking for the following legal information:
- No Name brand Chicken Nuggets (907g), with a best-before date of May 15, 2019, printed on the outer package; a lot code of 1358M on the inner package; and a UPC number of 0 60383 89685 0.
- Unbranded $10 Chicken Fries (1.81kg), with a best-before date of March 23, 2019; and a UPC number of 0 60249 01411 4.
“Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased,” the Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned in both recall notices.
“Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick.”
The outbreak investigation is ongoing, public health officials reported. Additional products will be recalled as needed.
Advice to consumers
Anyone who has handled or eaten the recalled products and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific laboratory tests are needed to diagnose salmonellosis, the infection caused by the bacteria.
Public health officials say the symptoms usually begin six to 72 hours after exposure. They can include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting.
In otherwise healthy adults, symptoms usually last for four to seven days. In some cases, severe illness, hospitalization and death may occur.
People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks. High risk groups include young children, people older than 65, people such as cancer patients and transplant recipients who have weakened immune systems, and pregnant women.
Federal public health officials in Canada say anyone handling, preparing or eating frozen chicken products are at a higher health risk than those who don’t. Precautions to minimize the danger include:
Following packaging instructions for cooking;
Verifying the internal temperature after cooking, making sure it is at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).