Canada recalls salad kits after deadly Listeria outbreak in U.S.

A deadly outbreak of Listeria in the United States has prompted a recall of salad kits in Canada.

Health Canada issued a recall notice Wednesday for President’s Choice and Taylor Farms branded Mexican-style street corn packaged salads.

The products were made with cheese by Rizo-López Foods, Inc., which was recalled in the U.S. following the outbreak of Listeria that spanned multiple states and dates back to 2014.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigated the outbreak in 2017 and 2021 and identified some cheeses as the source of the outbreak but there wasn’t enough information to target a specific brand, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, it was narrowed down to Rizo-López Foods in January 2024 after new illnesses were reported in December 2023, and the U.S. issued its recall on Monday.

The U.S. recall triggered Canada’s of the two products, which includes all best-before dates up to and including Feb. 19, 2024.

Canada has not reported any illnesses from the products, but the U.S. has had 26 cases of illness due to the cheese and other dairy products such as yogurt and sour cream, including 23 hospitalizations and two deaths.

Listeria is a bacteria that can act as a parasite in its host and can cause listeriosis. Symptoms start within two weeks of eating the contaminated food and include fever, muscle aches, nausea, tiredness, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the FDA. More serious symptoms can include convulsions, confusion and loss of balance.

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Listeria can live in a food plant for several years.

“(It is the) permanent colonizer or resident in the food plant,” University of Guelph food professor Jeff Farber told Global News in 2021. At least 21 products were recalled that year due to Listeria concerns.

Because the bacteria can establish itself inside the environment of the plant, it is very difficult for the food industry to get rid of it, Farber explained.

Food contaminated with Listeria may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The agency says to not eat any of the recalled products and that it is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to more recalls. Recalls are initially voluntary by the industry but can become mandatory.

This recall is the highest class of recalls, Class I, which means there is a high risk of serious health problems or death if the food is consumed.

— with files from Global News’ Saba Aziz.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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