OTTAWA, ONT. – The Public Health Agency of Canada reported 11 new cases of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to frozen raw breaded chicken, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall of chicken strip products that were identified as the source of the illnesses.
Case patients were reported in British Columbia (2), Alberta (1), Ontario (2), Quebec (3), New Brunswick (1), Nova Scotia (1), and Prince Edward Island (1). One individual has been hospitalized, the Public Health Agency of Canada said. Illness onset dates were between September 2018 and April 2019.
In relation to the most recent outbreak, Markham, Ont.-based Sofina Foods Inc. recalled Compliments brand chicken strips that were sold nationally in Canada until May 1, 2019. CFIA is concerned that some consumers may still have the products in their freezers. The affected products include:
- Compliments brand Chicken Strips – Breaded Chicken Cutlettes – Uncooked; 907 g; with an outer package product code of: 2019 NO 24 and an inner package code of: 3288M. The UPC is 0 57742 33687 0.
Sofina Foods had its Crisp and Delicious brand chicken nuggets recalled for Salmonella on Jan. 25, and its Compliments brand of chicken nuggets was subject to a recall in February.
From 2017 to May 25, 2019, public health authorities reported 584 laboratory confirmed Salmonella infections that have been linked to frozen raw breaded chicken distributed across Canada.
“The government of Canada and industry partners are continuing their efforts to educate consumers about the importance of safe food handling practices for these types of products; however, Salmonella illnesses linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products continue to be reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada,” the agency noted.
“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has implemented new industry measures for controlling the risk of Salmonella in frozen raw breaded chicken products,” the agency continued. “These new measures were prompted by the continued link between frozen raw breaded chicken products and outbreaks of food-related illnesses.”
The measures took effect on April 1, 2019, the agency said, but noted the possibility that products made before April 1 could still be in the marketplace or in individual’s freezers for up to a year beyond the date. Public health officials are reminding consumer to take precautions and to follow safe food handling practices when handling, preparing and consuming frozen raw breaded chicken products such as chicken nuggets, chicken strips, chicken burgers, popcorn chicken and chicken fries.
The persistent problem of illnesses associated with raw chicken products prompted Canada’s Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health to issue a public statement stressing the importance of proper handling of these products.