Recall These Thoughts

Salmonella in frozen breaded chicken continues to be a problem in Canada

From the PHAC on June 2nd 2018:

Currently, there are 59 cases of Salmonella Enteritidis illness in eight provinces: British Columbia (6), Alberta (8), Manitoba (9), Ontario (14), Quebec (19), New Brunswick (1), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). Ten people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals became sick between March and May 2018. The average age of cases is 34 years, with ages ranging from 1 to 82 years. The majority of cases (61%) are male.

Earlier this year I wrote about how the response to Salmonella in frozen breaded chicken products has been sluggish relative to the comparatively modest outbreak caused by E. coli in Beef processed by XL Foods. At the time of that post there were 86 illnesse’s including one death, attributed to frozen breaded chicken products between 2015 and 2017. On June 2nd 2018 we can add 59 more illnesses to the roster, bringing the total to 145 illnesses in 3 years attributed to the same type of product.

The XL Foods-related outbreak resulted in 18 known illnesses, zero deaths, and severely tarnished career of the agricultural minister at the time. In this case, in 2015, industry introduced some new labelling initiatives after the 2015 outbreaks, but it wasn’t until March 2018 that the Canadian government announced it was working with industry to address the issue. It is dismaying that we are three years and 145 illnesses into this ordeal. Government and industry should have begun the hard work in 2015, not 2018. The proposed changes which require “industry to implement measures at the manufacturing/processing level to reduce Salmonella to below detectable amounts in frozen raw breaded chicken products” cannot come soon enough. At this rate I’m fairly sure we’ll see another outbreak before the 12 month deadline set by the CFIA is reached.