Public Health Agency of Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

April 09, 2012 10:13 ET

Public Health Notice: Protect Yourself From Salmonella Illness

Why you should take note

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 9, 2012) - A food safety investigation by federal and provincial health authorities and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has led to a recall (inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/2012/20120406e.shtml} of a beef burger mix produced by Intercity Packers Ltd. due to possible contamination with Salmonella.

The product has been distributed to public and commercial food establishments in Ontario and Newfoundland. It may also have been distributed to grocery stores in Newfoundland.

To date, there have been more than 50 illnesses in Ontario associated with eating the product. Most of those illnesses have been linked to a local outbreak involving a caterer in Ottawa, and they took place in March. Federal and provincial public health authorities and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continue to investigate other potential illnesses and affected product.

What you should do

Newfoundland consumers are advised to check with the store where they bought beef to find out if they have affected products.

If you have the product, do not eat it. Secure it in a plastic bag and throw it out. Then wash your hands thoroughly in warm soapy water.

Everyone can protect themselves against Salmonella infections by taking proper precautions (phac-aspc.gc.ca/fs-sa/fst-csa-eng.php) when handling and preparing foods.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection

Salmonella infections, known as salmonellosis, are generally caused by eating contaminated food or water, or coming into direct contact with someone who is sick. Pets such as dogs, cats, amphibians and reptiles and their food can also carry Salmonella bacteria.

Symptoms of salmonellosis often include:

  • sudden onset of fever

  • headache

  • stomach cramps

  • diarrhea

  • vomiting

Who is most at risk?

Anyone can become sick from salmonellosis, but seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness Most people who become ill from salmonellosis will recover fully after a few days.

It's possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show any symptoms, but still be able to spread the infection to others. Take proper precautions (phac-aspc.gc.ca/fs-sa/fst-csa-eng.php) when handling and preparing foods so that you don't inadvertently make someone else sick, especially if you are preparing food for someone at high risk.

How to protect yourself

Do not eat any products listed in the recall (inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/2012/20120406e.shtml).

Always take proper precautions (phac-aspc.gc.ca/fs-sa/fst-csa-eng.php) when handling and preparing foods. Wash your hands thoroughly after feeding or handling pets.

Anyone who is or has been in close contact with someone who might be infected with Salmonella should:

  • wash their hands thoroughly and regularly

  • use separate towels for the sick

  • wash their clothes in hot water, and

  • clean bathroom taps, toilets, and doorknobs at least once a day with an antiseptic cleaner.

Generally the disease will run its course in four to seven days. Treatment for those infected with Salmonella should include drinking plenty of liquids to replace body fluids lost through diarrhea and vomiting.

You may wish to check with your doctor if you believe you have a Salmonella infection and you

  • are 65 years or older

  • have a weakened immune system

  • experience severe symptoms

  • experience symptoms lasting longer than seven days.

General food safety

Everyone should practice these general food safety precautions at all times.

Additional information

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's recall notice http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/2012/20120406e.shtml
The Government of Canada food safety web portal (foodsafety.gc.ca)
The Public Health Agency of Canada's Anatomy of a Foodborne Illness Outbreak (phac-aspc.gc.ca/fs-sa/anato-eng.php)

General Food Safety Tips

Everyone should practice general food safety precautions at all times:

  • Bacteria can grow in the danger zone between 4 °C and 60 °C (40 °F to 140 °F). Keep cold foods cold at or below 4 °C (40 °F) and keep hot foods hot at or above 60 °C (140 °F).

  • Place raw meat, poultry and seafood in containers on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Use containers that are large enough to prevent raw juices from dripping onto other food or touching other food.

  • Keep raw food away from other food while shopping, storing, preparing and serving foods.

  • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them, clean counters and cutting boards and wash your hands regularly.

  • Read labels and follow cooking and storage instructions for all foods. Make sure to check the "best before" date, and if you find something on the shelf that has expired, let the store know.

  • Use warm soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, your hands and any surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat and fish.

  • Refrigerate or freeze perishable food within two hours of cooking.

  • Freeze or consume leftovers within four days of cooking. Always reheat leftovers until steaming hot before eating.

  • Keep refrigerators clean and at a temperature below 4 C (40 F). Install a thermometer in your fridge to be sure.

  • Many harmful bacteria that could be in our food are destroyed when food is cooked to a certain internal temperature. Use a digital food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of your food so that you are sure that it is cooked properly. You can't tell by looking.

  • Cook your food to a safe internal temperature.

Food Temperature
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts) -medium-rare 63°C (145°F)
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts) -medium 71°C (160°F)
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts) -well done 77°C (170°F)
Pork (pieces and whole cuts) 71°C (160°F)
Poultry (pieces)-chicken, turkey, duck 74°C (165°F)
Poultry (whole)- chicken, turkey, duck 85°C (185°F)
Ground meat and meat mixtures (burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf, casseroles)-beef, veal, lamb and pork 71°C (160°F)
Ground meat and meat mixtures-poultry 74°C (165°F)
Egg dishes 74°C (165°F)
Others (hot dogs, stuffing and leftovers) 74°C (165°F)

Contact Information

  • Public Health Agency of Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 941-8189