Food-related illnesses are popping up throughout the country, and the cause appears to be certain poultry products, according to a recent statement from Health Canada.
An investigation is underway into an outbreak of Salmonella infection across several provinces, including 15 reports in Ontario.
Based on current evidence, investigators believe poultry products (including frozen breaded chicken products containing raw poultry) pose an increased health risk to the people who handle, prepare, or consume these types of foods.
This investigation is related to a recall earlier this month for No Name brand chicken burgers.
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There are currently 68 cases of Salmonella Enteritidis illness in nine jurisdictions:
- 15 in Ontario
- 23 in Quebec
- 9 in Alberta
- 9 in Manitoba
- 8 in British Columbia
- 1 in New Brunswick
- 1 in Nova Scotia
- 1 in Newfoundland and Labrador
- 1 in the Northwest Territories
In total, 15 people have been hospitalized, with individuals becoming sick between March and May 2018.
No deaths have been reported.
Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk.
Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
In order to protect their health, residents are advised to cook all frozen breaded chicken products to an internal temperature of at least 74 degrees Celsius (165 degrees Fahrenheit) to ensure that they are safe to eat, and avoid consuming or handling any products that have been recalled.
The investigation is ongoing and led by the Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, and provincial and territorial public health partners.
For more ideas on how to be safe around potentially harmful food, residents can check out the federal government’s food safety tips.