Meat & Poultry

OTTAWA, Ontario – An outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections in four provinces has been linked to poultry, including frozen raw breaded chicken products, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a recall of Harvest Creek Chicken Nuggets – Uncooked Breaded Chicken Cutlettes (2 x 1kg) with a best before date of Oct. 11, 2018 (BB/MA 18-OC-11) and a UPC of: 8 29810 93350 2 as part of an ongoing food safety investigation.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said there are 30 cases of Salmonella Enteritidis illness in four provinces: Alberta (2), Ontario (17), Quebec (7), and New Brunswick (4). Four individuals have been hospitalized, the agency said. The affected individuals became sick between May 2017 and February 2018.

Investigators identified exposure to poultry, including frozen raw breaded chicken products as a source of illness. Several of case patients reported eating Harvest Creek Chicken Nuggets before getting sick.

Additionally, samples of Harvest Creek Chicken Nuggets (2 x 1kg), with best before date of Oct. 11, 2018 tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis and had the same genetic fingerprint as the cases of human illness reported in the outbreak.

The chicken nuggets were distributed in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Quebec, and may have been distributed in other provinces or territories, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

News of the outbreak comes as federal agencies responsible for public health and food safety oversight called on processors to identify Salmonella as a hazard and implement modifications that reduce Salmonella to below a detectable amount in products such as chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, chicken strips, popcorn chicken and chicken burgers that are packaged for retail sale.

The Canadian government announced the plan because frozen raw breaded chicken products continue to be identified as a source of Salmonella infection in Canada despite extensive efforts to increase consumer awareness that frozen raw breaded chicken products need to be fully cooked.

The incidence of Salmonella infections in Canada has steadily increased in the last 10 years driven by Salmonella Enteritidis, the most common strain of Salmonella in the food supply that is often associated with poultry, CFIA said.

CFIA granted industry a 12-month implementation period to begin immediately.

© Sosland