It’s a real health advantage (not): Salmonella in sprouted seeds again

Advantage Health Matters is recalling Organic Traditions brand Sprouted Flax Seed Powder and Sprouted Chia & Flax Seed Powder from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled products.

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.

Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may contract serious and sometimes deadly infections. Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.

This recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Frozen chicken thingies perhaps: 91 sick with Salmonella in Canada, ‘poultry products are food items of interest’

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

public-accountabilityFor years, critics have complained that agencies like the Canadian Food Inspection Agency couldn’t possibly do its job properly, reporting to Parliament through Agriculture Canada, because ag promotes food.

But it’s good marketing if that food is safe.

So CFIA was moved to report through Health Canada.

Absolutely no difference.

And then there’s the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The key is solid outbreak investigations and public accountability.

Between March 15 and November 30, 2015, 91 confirmed cases of Salmonella Infantis have stricken Canadians in nine provinces.

The majority of cases (60%) are female, with an average age of 40 years. Sixteen people have been hospitalized, and all have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported.

To date, the source of this investigation has not been identified, but poultry products are food items of interest in the ongoing investigation. Further evidence in the investigation is needed to determine the source in this outbreak.

Why is contaminated feed still circulating, 15 years later? CFIA says small amount of feed likely cause of Alberta mad cow disease

Canada’s food safety watchdog says a small amount of leftover contaminated feed was the most plausible cause of mad cow disease discovered last February on a farm near Edmonton.

bse.canadaThe Canadian Food Inspection Agency released a report Monday that says no part of the Black Angus beef cow entered the human food or animal feed systems.

The report says no significant events could be linked to the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) near Edmonton and no other sick animals were found.

The February case — the 19th in Canada — prompted a few countries to place temporary restrictions on Canadian beef imports.

An investigation report says the cow was born at a nearby farm almost two years after Canada brought in more strict controls on animal feed to prevent BSE. A previous case was diagnosed on the same birth farm in an animal born in 2004.

“No significant events could be linked with this case but the potential for the carry-over of a small amount of residual contaminated feed could not be discounted,” says the report.

If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap; if it is Scottish cheese, it might contain Listeria

After further investigation, CFIA has expanded a recall announcement for Inverloch cheeses that have been imported and distributed across Canada.

Glen Echo Fine Foods is recalling Inverloch cheeses imported from Scotland from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Consumers should not consume and distributors, retailers and food service establishments should not sell or use the recalled products described below.

The recalled products may have been sold in smaller packages, cut and wrapped by some retailers. Consumers who are unsure if they have purchased the affected products are advised to contact their retailer.

Canadian cheese update: Inverlock Cheddar recalled due to Listeria monocytogenes

The food recall warning issued on November 20, 2015 has been updated to include additional distribution information. This additional information was identified during the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) food safety investigation.

listeria.cheese.cdn.nov.15Glen Echo Fine Foods is recalling Inverloch Cheddar Cheese imported from Scotland from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

What you should do

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.

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Isle of Kintyre Laird’s Mustard Mature Cheddar & Whole Grain Mustard 1 kg 10/13-06 5 060020 410338
Isle of Kintyre Applesmoke Mature Cheddar 900g 3-03-16 5 060020 410260

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, the infection can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth. In severe cases of illness, people may die.

This recall was triggered by the company. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Won’t say how many are sick or with what: Quinoa Salad source of illness in Canada

Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd. is recalling Kirkland Signature brand Quinoa Salad from the marketplace because of reported illnesses. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

quinoa.salad.cfiaThe following product has been sold from Costco located in Ancaster, Ontario between October 26 and November 3, 2015.

Recalled products

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Kirkland Signature Quinoa Salad (Item/Art. 0273943) 1.070 kg Packaged on:
15/OC/26 to 15/NO/03, inclusive
0 00002 73943 4

What you should do

Check to see if you have recalled product in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to a Costco warehouse.

Background

This recall was triggered by the company. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

Illnesses

There have been reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

More information

Costco warehouse in Ancaster: 905-304-0344

Sprouted chia seed powder recalled due to Salmonella

Back 2 the Garden Inc. is recalling Back 2 the Garden brand Organic Sprouted Chia Seed Powder from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

chia.mr.tThe following product has been sold nationally as well as through internet sales.

Recalled products

Brand Name: Back 2 the Garden

Common Name: Organic Sprouted Chia Seed Powder

Size: 200 g

Code(s) on Product: EVCH0150529-04 BB/MA JUL-2016

UPC: 6 27843 15900 1

What you should do

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.

chia.sproutsFood contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may contract serious and sometimes deadly infections. Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.

This recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Go to jail. Go directly to jail

Ron Doering, counsel in the Ottawa offices of Gowlings, and a past president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, writes in his monthly Food in Canada column:           

Chance_go_to_jailAfter warrants were issued for their arrest, the two food company executives turned themselves in to the police and then they were led into the court for their arraignment in shackles.

The Jensen brothers faced a possible six years in jail for the misdemeanor of failing to ensure the quality and safety of the food product they were selling. They did not go to jail primarily because they pled guilty. Last January they were sentenced to six months home detention and five years probation, and ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution.

The evidence was clear: neither of the corporate executives had any idea that their food product was adulterated or that they had done anything wrong. What’s going on here?

In this and several other recent cases, the United States Department of Justice has made it clear that it has adopted a new enforcement policy to aggressively use criminal prosecution against food company executives. Citing the serious public health consequences of foodborne illness, with 48 million Americans sickened every year and an estimated 3,000 deaths, Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery has publicly warned corporate officers that they were now going to be held personally and criminally responsible if their companies failed to adequately control the quality of their food products. Delery has emphasized that introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce is a strict liability offence, meaning a company violates the law when it distributes an adulterated food whether or not it intended to do so.

In adopting this new aggressive policy the prosecutors have resurrected the old and mostly dormant 1975 U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v Park, which held that corporate executives could be prosecuted criminally even for unintended violations of food laws by their companies. “This apparent revival of the Park Doctrine is a huge concern for the industry” asserts U.S. food law attorneys McGuireWoods.

This dramatic change in U.S. food law is evident in many recent cases. For example, in 2014 Iowa egg company executives pled guilty in a deal that included prison time and millions of dollars in fines after an outbreak that had sickened almost 2,000 people in 2010. In May 2015, arising from a tainted peanut butter recall in 2006, prosecutors extracted a settlement with the food giant ConAgra Foods that included a fine of $11.2 million, the highest criminal fine in U.S. food safety history.

This rising threat of criminal prosecution for food industry executives is real and has not gone unnoticed by food companies and their lawyers. Washington lawyer Gary Jay Kushner, a partner with Hogan Lovells and one of America’s leading food law lawyers, told me recently that “this is a serious development for food company executives. We’re seeing this increasing trend in a lot of cases.”

The most recent case that has garnered so much media attention involves the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) in which an investigation revealed that its adulterated product had led to over 700 reported infections and at least nine deaths. After a six-week trial, a federal jury found PCA president Stewart Parnell and two other company executives guilty of violating several food safety laws and obstruction of justice. Because company employees falsified lab results and made several false and misleading statements to FDA investigators, prosecutors are seeking life sentences for PCA executives.

Criminal prosecution of company executives is not new in Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency regularly brings charges in the criminal courts. What we haven’t seen yet in this country is major prosecutions of executives after recalls or prosecutors seeking jail terms for company executives who were unaware of any violation, though I know that this has been seriously considered in at least a couple of instances.

There is also another important distinction between Canada and the U.S. We have a longstanding, if narrowly defined, defence of due diligence in cases of strict liability offences; a defence that deserves to be better known, and the subject of next month’s column.

587 sick: CDC and FDA try to contain cyclosporiasis outbreak

As the numbers of those sickened with cyclosporiasis reached 495 in the U.S. and 92 in Canada, the only lead appears to be cilantro imported from Mexico.

cilantroCyclospora is a microscopic single-celled parasite that is passed in people’s feces. If it comes in contact with food or water, it can infect the people who consume it. This causes an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis.

Previous foodborne illness outbreaks of Cyclospora, in Canada and U.S. have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, such as pre-packaged salad mix, basil, cilantro, berries, mesclun lettuce and snow peas.

To date, no multi-jurisdictional outbreaks have been linked to produce grown in Canada.

476 sick with cyclosporiasis in US, 87 in Canada

As of August 17, 2015 (3pm EDT), a total of 476 ill persons with confirmed Cyclospora infection were reported to CDC in 2015. Most of these persons—282 (59%) of 476—experienced onset of illness on or after May 1, 2015, and did not have a history of international travel within 2 weeks before illness onset.

 cilantro.slugs.powell.10These 282 persons were from the following 22 states: Arkansas (2), California (2), Connecticut (3), Florida (10), Georgia (23), Illinois (7), Iowa (1), Kansas (2), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (9), Michigan (2), Missouri (1), Montana (3), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (6), New Mexico (2), New York (excluding NYC) (8), New York City (21), Texas (162), Utah (1), Virginia (3), Washington (2), and Wisconsin (10).

Clusters of illness linked to restaurants or events have been identified in Texas, Wisconsin, and Georgia. Cluster investigations are ongoing in Texas and Georgia. Cluster investigations in Wisconsin and Texas have preliminarily identified cilantro as a suspect vehicle. Investigations are ongoing to identify specific food item(s) linked to the cases that are not part of the identified clusters.

87 cases have been reported in Canada.