Illnesses continue to be added to a tally of people in Canada who have been sickened in a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak tied to frozen corn.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reports that there are now 110 people from five provinces who have been confirmed as outbreak patients. As of Dec. 21 there were 84 confirmed patients.

“Many of the individuals who became sick reported eating a variety of raw and cooked produce items before their illness. Initially, investigators identified that fresh avocados were reported by many cases before they became ill; however, more information was needed to confirm the source of the outbreak,” according to the PHAC outbreak update.

“As part of the food safety investigation, the CFIA collected different food items from restaurants where ill people dined. Testing found the outbreak strain of Salmonella in an unopened package of Alasko brand frozen whole kernel corn. Traceback findings identified Alasko as the common brand of frozen corn consumed at various foodservice establishments by individuals who became sick. Based on the investigation findings to date, the outbreak is linked to Alasko brand frozen whole kernel corn.”

Outbreak patients have been identified in five provinces: British Columbia with 42, Alberta with 49, Saskatchewan with 4, Manitoba with 13, and Ontario with 2. The illnesses reported in Ontario are related to travel to Alberta and British Columbia, according to the public health agency.

Patients documented so far became sick between early September 2021 and late December 2021. Four individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 1 and 89 years of age. The majority of cases, 64 percent, are female.

It can take several weeks for patients to be added to the outbreak list after they become ill because of the time it takes to confirm their infections and report them to provincial and federal authorities.

“The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as recent illnesses continue to be reported,” according to the outbreak update.

“Do not eat, use, sell, or serve any of the recalled corn or products made with the recalled corn. This advice applies to individuals, as well as retailers, distributors, manufacturers and foodservice establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and long-term care homes, across Canada.”

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued food recalls in relation to the outbreak. The recalled products were distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec, and may have been distributed in other provinces and territories. 

The recall of Alasko brand frozen whole kernel corn has led to secondary recalls, including one by Fraser Valley Meats, one by Osaka and T&T Supermarkets, one by Save on Foods, one by Nourishment Meals, and one by King Ranch.

The secondary recalls involve products that used Alasko brand frozen corn as an ingredient. The CFIA is continuing its food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated food recall warnings.

Recalls related to the outbreak