Healthzone.ca – Listeria outbreak spurs food safety overhaul:
“Ottawa will hire more food inspectors and may allow irradiation of meat to reduce bacteria that causes food-borne diseases such as the deadly outbreak of listeria linked to ready-to-eat meats. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto believed to be the source of the listeriosis outbreak would undergo tough scrutiny when it resumes production. Federal inspectors “will hold and test 100 per cent of the product coming off the lines for four to six weeks,” he said. Still, he echoed Maple Leaf CEO Michael McCain when he said that testing products for listeria is like looking for a “needle in a haystack.” [ End quote: source – healthzone.ca – Toronto Star – The Star online]
There are some important links to keep updated on the ongoing Listeria monocytogenes bacteria investigation:
According to Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer: “For most people, the risk posed by listeria is very low”. The Public Health Agency of Canada advises healthy people who are exposed to listeria are rarely affected by the bacteria. However, there are certain people who are at higher risk for listeriosis – the very young, the very old, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. People from these at-risk groups who may have eaten contaminated products and have experienced symptoms, such as persistent fever, severe headaches, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, should consult their health care provider. We recommend that those at greater risk take precautionary measures when preparing food by avoiding the recalled products.
People with weakened immune systems reports say include people with HIV /AIDS, and alcoholics. Here at Project417, our concern is with the homeless street people that we serve. Many of them are included in the groups identified by Health Canada as being at greater risk. Project417 has always advised independent sandwich run groups not to make sandwiches with fresh deli meats like ham, corned beef, roast beef and condiments like mayonnaise, mustartd, butter etc due to problems with food spoilage, Many of our street friends have gotten sick in the past from eating bag lunches prepared by well meaning but un-informed church groups and other volunteers who go out on unsupervised sandwich runs.
Even though in the past Public Health street nurses had advised that bologna was a good choice for sandwich runs due to preservatives, as a result of the news reports and Health Canada advisories, we updated the Project417 website with a notice to groups to avoid any sliced meats for use in sandwich runs to the homeless and stick to the tried and true PB&J or plain process cheese slices.
The real tragedy is the number of deaths of unsuspecting Canadian consumer, concentrated in Toronto and Ontario who have died of the listeriosis outbreak. And our homeless friends are some of the most vulnerable reduced to living on handouts and dumpster diving just to survive. Check back often for more updates.
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