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E.coli O121 public health notice update

 


Key Messages (SASK)


E. coli Investigation


March 28, 2017


 


  • Federal public health officials continue to investigate recent confirmed cases of E. coli in several Canadian provinces. 


As of March 27, 2017, four of 25 cases identified occurred in Saskatchewan.


 


  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada have identified flour as the likely source for one of the 25 cases identified.  A food recall warning has been issued specific to Robin Hood All Purpose Flour.


(10kg bag, code BB/MA 2018 AL17 and 6 291 548)


 


  • Restaurants and retailers are also advised not to sell or serve the recalled product or any items prepared or produced using the recalled product.


 


  • The risk to consumers is very low. However, it is important for people to take reasonable precautions to protect themselves, including:


    • not eating or tasting raw flour, raw batter or uncooked dough;

    • cooking these products properly which will destroy any contaminants present; and

    • washing hands and cleaning bowls, utensils and surfaces thoroughly when working with flour and other food.

       


  • We are closely monitoring the situation and continue to stay in contact with our federal partners on this issue.


 


  • Further information about this investigation is available through the Public Health Agency of Canada website at: www.phac-aspc/xxxxx


 


  1. What is the source product?


The product identified as connected to one of the cases of E. coli is Robin Hood flour.


 


  1. Did any people in Saskatchewan become sick or die because of this product?


There was no conclusive link between the four Saskatchewan cases and Robin Hood flour. However, exposure to raw flour cannot be ruled out.


 


  1. Where are other cases being investigated?


The current investigation includes 25 cases of E.coli 0121 reported in four provinces:  Alberta (4), British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Newfoundland and Labrador (5).


 


Of the 25 cases identified, six (6) were hospitalized and are or have recovered.


More information on the investigation is available on the Public Health Agency of Canada website. (www.phac-aspc.gc.ca)


  1. What are the Ministry and public health doing about this?


We are working with our federal partners on this issue.  At this point, the risk to the public is very low.  Flour is a raw agricultural product; it is not expected to be sterile and is meant to be cooked before use. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of a product recall in removing public access to the product.


 


People are reminded not to eat raw flour or raw dough made with it, like cookie dough.  It’s important to take reasonable precautions when preparing any food, including cooking these products to destroy any contaminants that may be present, and keeping hands and surfaces clean.


 


Children should also not be given raw dough to play within homes, daycares or restaurants.


 


  1. What are you doing to make sure this producer is diligent about the cleanliness of the facility?


Questions on that can be directed to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which is responsible for inspection and regulation in this area; they have been in contact with the facility to follow up.


 


  1. How long has this outbreak been under investigation?


The first cases were confirmed in November.


 


  1. Why did it take so long to tell people about the connection with flour?


This source was only identified late last week (Friday, March 24th).  This has been a complex investigation, featuring an unusual strain of E. coli bacteria.


 


  1. What should people do if they’re concerned about the safety of this product?


Don’t eat or taste raw dough or raw batter – it can make you sick.


Cook products containing flour at proper temperatures and for specified times.


Clean up thoroughly after baking.  Wash bowls, utensils and surfaces with hot water and soap.  Wash your hands with soap after baking or cooking.


If you remove the product from packaging and put it in another container, wash the containers thoroughly before using them again.


 

 

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