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12 Deaths Linked to Listeria Outbreak in Canada

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, August 25, 2008 6:10 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA & Prescription Drugs, Protecting Your Family, Listeria, Maple Leaf, Defective and Dangerous Recall, Food Recall, Food Poisoning


Update* Tuesday 8-26:
class action lawsuit has been filed against Maple Leap Foods

IMAGE SOURCE: © Maple Leaf Foods

Twelve people have died of 26 confirmed cases of food poisoning linked to tainted deli meats produced at a plant owned by Maple Leaf Foods, according to Canadian health officials.

There are 30 more cases of suspected listeriosis and more are expected in the coming days.

Canadians need to remain on guard for a few more weeks at the very least, given listeriosis’ lengthy incubation period of up to 70 days, said officials with the Public Health Agency of Canada.

In one of the biggest food recalls ever in Canada, one of its largest meat processors, voluntarily recalled 220 meat products, estimated at C$20 million.

A listeria bacterium, with the same genetic marker, found in two tainted beef products matched the bacteria in those people who have fallen ill. More than 200 other products made on the same line were recalled last week.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The disease is primarily dangerous to pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.

Listeriosis was a contributing factor in seven of the twelve deaths, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Five deaths are still under investigation in terms of determining the extent of the contribution the bacteria had in the death of those individuals.

An absolute link has not been established between the listeria bacteria responsible for causing illness and deaths and Maple Leaf products, Vels told analysts.

The company said it is unlikely that they will be able to determine how the meat came to be contaminated as the listeria bacterium is common and pervasive.

“It’s very difficult, if not all together impossible, to target a direct source,” Michael Vels, Chief Operating Officer of Maple Leaf, said in a health announcement.

Maple Leaf is inspecting and double-checking all procedures across its 23 plants, but says they no reason to believe any other products are affected by the risk of contamination.

Please refer to a comprehensive list of all recalled products which can be found on Maple Leafs Website. #

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