Save on Foods and other Overwaitea Food grocers have joined Safeway Canada in a massive cucumber recall over a possible salmonella contamination.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a recall notice Tuesday evening for Overwaitea Food Group, the operator of six Canadian grocery stores including Save on Foods, Urban Fare, PriceSmart Foods, Overwaitea Foods, Cooper’s Foods and Bulkley Valley Wholesale.
The recall includes fresh unwrapped field cucumbers sold in bulk (UPC #4062) from Save On Foods, PriceSmart Foods, Coopers Foods, Overwaitea and Freson Brothers in British Columbia and Alberta on or before September 4, 2015. Because the produce is unlabeled, consumers who believe they may have purchased these cucumbers are asked to contact their grocer.
Earlier this week, Safeway was first to issue a recall on the same product, which is believed to be linked to a concurrent salmonella outbreak in California from cucumbers imported from Mexico.
Anyone who may have these recalled products is asked to throw it away or return it to the store where it was purchased.
Salmonella contaminated food does not look or smell spoiled. People who ingest food contaminated with the bacteria may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Symptoms typically last between four to seven days.
Those who are particularly vulnerable are young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Infections can be serious and sometimes deadly.
The CFIA says they are not aware of any reported illnesses in Canada associated with the consumption of these cucumbers.
In July of this year, the Public Health Agency issued a warning over imported produce from Mexico, specifically pre-packaged salad mix, basil, cilantro, berries, mesclun lettuce and snow peas, causing the intenstinal parasite cyclospora in consumers. The warning followed a rapid outbreak of the parasite in the United States that was found to originate from farms in Mexico contaminated with human feces.
The Food and Drug Administration reported in July that 384 people across 26 states had contracted cyclosporiasis due to contaminated cilantro imported from Mexico. This was the fourth consecutive year the FDA had investigated cilantro imports from Mexico. A report issued earlier this year states investigators found “objectionable conditions” at eight farms in Puebla, Mexico which supply cilantro to the U.S.
Conditions discovered at these farms included:
- human feces and toilet paper found in growing fields and around facilities
- inadequately maintained and supplied toilet and hand washing facilities (no soap, no toilet paper, no running water, no paper towels) or a complete lack of toilet and hand washing facilities
- food-contact surfaces (such as plastic crates used to transport cilantro or tables where cilantro was cut and bundled) visibly dirty and not washed
- water used for purposes such as washing cilantro vulnerable to contamination from sewage/septic systems