Canada expands U.S. chicken product recall but U.S. health agency hasn't identified any sources of Listeria outbreak

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      While a Canadian recall for U.S. chicken products has once again expanded, U.S. health authorities aren't specifying any particular sources despite an illness outbreak in both Canada and the U.S. that has claimed two lives south of the border.

      On August 18, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that Rosemount Sales and Marketing is recalling Rosemount brand diced chicken meat due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, which was identified as the probably source of the Listeria outbreak.

      Then on August 21, the food recall expanded to include Reuven International Ltd. Brand Natural Proportion Cooked Chicken Meat (Diced) and Sysco brand Natural Proportions Cooked Shredded Chicken for the same reason.

      Now, as of August 23, Rosemount Sales and Marketing is also recalling Rosemount brand frozen Cooked Diced Chicken Mostly Dark (13 millimetres or one-half inch) (#18305) because of potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.

      The product is sold in 4.54 kilogram packages with the UPC number 2 06 20263 12002 0 and the date code PACKDATE: 01/21/19.    

      The product was distributed for retail sales in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and possibly nationally.

      Food establishments, including restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, hospitals, and nursing homes should not sell or use this product.

      Anyone who has this product should dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase.

      Symptoms, which usually appear two to three weeks after exposure to the bacteria, can include nausea, vomiting, cramps, fever, or muscle aches. Severe cases, which includes symptoms such as severe headaches, loss of balance, confusion or neck stiffness, can be fatal. Further details about Listeriosis (Listeria) can be found at the Health Canada website.  

      The Public Health Agency of Canada had announced on August 19 that it is working with the CFIA, Health Canada, and provincial partners on an investigation into the outbreak.

      As of August 23, there have been seven confirmed Listeria cases across Canada, including one in B.C., one in Manitoba, and five in Ontario. Six of these cases required hospitalization.

      Meanwhile, the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention stated that as of August 23, there have been 24 reported cases in 13 states in the U.S., including Oregon and California. Of those cases, 22 people required hospitalization while two cases resulted in death.

      Listeria specimens were taken from ill U.S. citizens from July 20, 2017, to August 1, 2019.

      Although Canadian and U.S. public health and food safety partners are working together on the Listeria investigations, in contrast to the Canadian investigation, the U.S. CDC states that it has not identified a specific food item or company as the source of infection and is not advising consumers to avoid any food items at this time.