Salmonella :: Canada informs citizens – Salmonella in the United States

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) have been following a multi-state investigation by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) into recent illnesses caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhimurium believed to be associated with fresh produce.

A specific food source related to the US outbreak has not been identified, and American authorities believe that any contaminated food would have already been consumed, destroyed or thrown out. The FDA does not believe a consumer warning about produce on store shelves is warranted at this time as the peak in cases in the US occurred in September, which suggests the outbreak is no longer ongoing.

Last month, PHAC alerted all public health units across the country. And, as a result, two human cases were confirmed today in Canada that match the strain of Salmonella typhimurium identified in the US outbreak. However, at this time there is insufficient evidence connecting these two cases with the outbreak in the US. A matching strain does not necessarily link the cases with the outbreak. This strain of Salmonella has been identified in Canada before, so it is possible they are unrelated to the outbreak. The two human cases confirmed today were from New Brunswick and P.E.I. respectively.

If CDC or PHAC activities identify a food source, the CFIA will take appropriate action to protect consumers.

Salmonella are bacteria that cause intestinal illness (Salmonellosis) in humans, usually due to the consumption of undercooked or contaminated food. Salmonella typhimurium is a common type of the bacteria. Like other foodborne illnesses, the symptoms of salmonellosis can feel like the flu. Symptoms usually appear 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food and usually last up to seven days.

As a general precaution, consumers are reminded that proper storage, handling and cooking practices are the best ways to protect themselves from salmonellosis and other food-borne illnesses. In particular, consumers should thoroughly wash fresh fruits and vegetables before consumption. They should also wash their hands and utensils, such as knives and cutting boards, before preparing meals and after any contact with raw foods.

Investigations of foodborne illness usually begin at the local health department level. The CFIA immediately initiates an investigation when it receives information from public health authorities of a potential foodborne illness outbreak situation.

Leave a Comment