Reser’s Fine Foods Expands Salad Recall to Canada.

Reser’s Fine Foods, in conjunction with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), announced a recall of two salads due to the possibility that they are contaminated with the potentially lethal bacteria Listeria monocytogenes.

The recall comes on the heels of a larger US recall by Reser’s Fine Foods, which was announced by the company and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday, and additional press releases regarding the recall were sent via email by the FDA on Tuesday. The recall was, according to some reports, triggered by the recall taking place in the United States.

No illnesses have been reported either in the US or Canada as a result of the possible contamination; however, it can take a very long time – some studies say longer than two months – for the infection to become full-blown and symptoms to be obvious.

The details regarding the recalled Canadian product are as follows:

Classic SYSCO Elbow Macaroni Salad (3.63 kg)
Coded MAY-07-16 #10
UPC # 0 74865 08459 8

Reser’s Second Salad Recall to Cross Borders Over Listeria Concerns.**

The Reser’s recall comes less than two weeks after the FDA and United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared an end to the multi-state, multi-country outbreak of Listeria linked to Dole prepackaged salads. (The US agencies’ Canadian counterpart had declared an end to its investigation two weeks prior.)

In that case, routine sampling by the Ohio Department of Agriculture isolated Listeria from an unopened package of Dole brand Field Greens that had been produced in the company’s Springfield, Ohio processing facility. Subsequent testing led the company to shut down the Springfield, Ohio facility altogether, and to withdraw all packaged salads produced at that facility that were currently on the market.

Timeline of the Dole Salad Outbreak

Dole informed both the CDC and FDA on January 21, 2016 that it had ceased all production of the salads at its Springfield location on January 21, 2016.

One day later, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a food recall warning for all products that had been processed in the Dole Springfield facility. The agency said that the recalled salads had been shipped to five separate Canadian provinces.

In a release issued on January 27th, Dole initiated a recall of all packaged salads produced at the Springfield, Ohio facility in question.

Finally, the FDA completed its analysis of the salads packaged at the plant, confirming that Listeria was present in a packaged salad produced at the facility, which was later found to be operating under unsanitary conditions.

Investigations End, but Impact of the Outbreak Lives On

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) released a statement regarding the Dole Listeria outbreak on March 17, 2016 that declared “the outbreak investigation coordinating committee has been deactivated and the investigation is coming to a close.” On March 31, CDC reported that the outbreak appeared to be over, as did the FDA.

Despite the fact that the outbreak has been declared “over” by the public health agencies, the human element of the event lives on. In the US alone, 19 people contracted Listeria from products processed in Dole’s Springfield facility, including one woman who fell into a long-term coma. The geographic breakdown of US cases is as follows:

  • New York (6 cases);
  • Michigan (4 cases, including 1 fatality);
  • Missouri (2 cases);
  • Ohio (2 cases)
  • Connecticut (1 case);
  • Indiana (1 case);
  • Massachusetts (1 case);
  • New Jersey (1 case); and
  • Pennsylvania (1 case).

Every single person that fell ill with Listeria from the contaminated salads had to be hospitalized, and one person in Michigan died.

In Canada, a total of 14 outbreak cases of Listeria were confirmed from the following provinces:

  • Ontario (9 cases);
  • Quebec (2 cases);
  • New Brunswick (1 case);
  • Prince Edward Island (1 case); and
  • Newfoundland and Labrador (1 case).

All Canadian cases also required hospitalization. While three people with the disease perished, Canadian officials stated that “it has not been determined if Listeria contributed to the cause of these deaths.”

**To be clear, there is no evidence the Reser’s Fine Food recall and the Dole salad contamination are in any way physically, bacterially or biologically linked.

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