Escherichia coli O121 Outbreak in Canada Linked to Robin Hood Flour:  At Least 30 Victims Identified

The E. Coli O121 outbreak in Canada, that began in November of 2016 (when the first victim was identified), was triggered by consumption of flour.  The Non-O157 E. coli (the more common form of food born E. coli) have sickened at least 30 people.  Each of the victims was a resident of Canada or had recently travelled to Canada.  At least one U.S. traveler is among the 30 confirmed victims.

The Canadian victims were spread widely across Canada, residing in Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The youngest victim was only 2, with the eldest at 79.  The median age of the victims was 23.5 years and were evenly split among men and women.  One of the victims developed a dangerous and potentially deadly condition, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) that can lead to kidney shut-down, loss and the need for a transplant.  Another seven victims were also hospitalized.

“While anyone can become infected with E. coli, young children aged five and under, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick and their symptoms may be more severe,” says Health Canada.

According to Canadian health officials, the outbreak strain was identified as E. coli O121:H19.

The Flour at the center of the outbreak has been identified as Robin Hood Flour, a popular and widely disseminated flour product.  The flour is made by Ardent Mills, and its recall has led to many subsequent recalls of products made with the flour, including a very recent recall in June of 2017 of pie and tart shells sold in the Waterloo area, in Wellington and Perth Counties in Southern Ontario.

For a complete list of recalled Ardent Mill products, consult the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s web page. For more information about the Robin Hood E. coli outbreak, or to speak to an E. coli lawyer, call 1-888-335-4901.