The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella infections in several provinces including British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and New Brunswick.
As of December 21, 2018, there are 22 confirmed cases of Salmonella leaving five individuals hospitalized and one individual dead.
The individuals became sick between April 2017 and mid-November 2018 and based on the investigation findings to date the illness outbreak is likely linked to exposure to raw turkey and raw chicken products.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked turkey or chicken products, nor is it advising retailers to stop selling raw turkey and raw chicken products.
Canadians across the country are reminded to always handle raw turkey and raw chicken carefully, and to cook it thoroughly to prevent food-related illnesses like Salmonella.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection typically start six to 72 hours after exposure to a contaminated product, and can include fever, chills, diarrhea, cramps, vomiting and nausea.
Most people who become ill from an infection will fully recover in a few days, according to health officials, although individuals can be infectious for up to several weeks.
Infants, children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for serious illnesses related to Salmonella infections.
It is difficult to know if a product is contaminated with Salmonella because you can’t see, smell or taste it.
To lessen the risk of Salmonella, the following food safety tips are offered by public health officials:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh produce.
- Cut away any bruised or damaged areas on fresh produce, since harmful bacteria can thrive in these areas.
- Wash fresh produce thoroughly under fresh, cool, running water, even if you plan to peel them.
- Don’t soak fresh produce in a sink full of water.
- Use a clean produce brush to scrub items that have firm surfaces like cucumbers, oranges, melons, potatoes, and carrots.
- Use one cutting board for produce, and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
- Place peeled or cut fruits and vegetables on a separate clean plate.
- Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily.
- Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food.