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E. coli outbreak linked to recall of certain pork products in Alberta

April 25, 2018

EDMONTON – An Alberta Health Services (AHS) Environmental Public Health investigation has determined an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in the Edmonton Zone is linked to certain pork products sold and distributed by The Meat Shop at Pine Haven.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a Food Recall Warning for certain pork products sold and distributed by The Meat Shop at Pine Haven between February 19 and April 24, 2018, inclusively.

This recall was initiated by The Meat Shop at Pine Haven, in light of the E. coli O157:H7 foodborne outbreak investigation led by AHS and supported by the CFIA.

The number of lab-confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7 has increased to 36, including 11 patients who have needed hospital care, and one individual who has died likely due to infection with E. coli.

The AHS investigation has determined that certain raw and ready-to-eat pork products sold and distributed by The Meat Shop at Pine Haven has a common link between these lab-confirmed cases. Consumption of these products is associated with increased risk of illness.

Both AHS and the CFIA are encouraging consumers to check if they have recalled products in their home. Businesses should also verify whether they have any recalled products.

Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick.

The predominant symptom associated with E. coli O157:H7 is diarrhea, which may be bloody. In more severe forms of the disease, hemolytic uremic syndrome (a form of kidney failure) can develop. Anyone who has symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 should contact Health Link.

Symptoms usually start one to 10 days after eating food contaminated with E. coli bacteria. If you are concerned or start to develop symptoms, please visit your family doctor or a healthcare clinic as soon as possible. It is important that you mention your possible exposure to E. coli O157:H7.

Children, the elderly and the immunocompromised are at greater risk of complications from this strain of E. coli. The majority of individuals who get sick from E. coli O157:H7 will improve on their own within 10 days, but a small proportion may develop complications.

As always, Albertans are reminded to stay home when sick, refrain from preparing foods while sick with diarrhea, and always wash hands well with soap and warm water before preparing foods or drinks or before eating or drinking.

Anyone with questions or concerns can contact Health Link to speak to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by dialing 811.

E. coli infections are generally caused when a person eats food or drinks water that is contaminated with human or animal feces, or through direct contact with a person who is sick or with animals that carry the bacteria.

Albertans should always follow these proper hygiene and safe food handling and preparation practices, to reduce their risk of E. coli and other food-borne infections:

  • Wash your hands with hot, soapy water often, including after you go to the washroom, before you prepare food, after you touch raw meat, and after you change diapers.
  • Avoid preparing food for others when ill with diarrhea.
  • Cook beef and pork to at least 71 °C (160 °F).
  • Thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits before eating.
  • Thoroughly wash all kitchen tools and surfaces that have touched raw meat.
  • Use only pasteurized milk, dairy, and juice products.
  • Be sure that water used for drinking or food preparation is from approved sources (including municipal water supply or properly maintained/treated well water).
  • When you travel to countries that may have unsafe drinking water, don't use ice or drink tap water, and avoid consuming raw fruits and vegetables, except those with skin that you peel yourself.

Note to media: Dr. Jasmine Hasselback, Medical Officer of Health, Edmonton Zone, will be available to speak to media at 12:30 p.m., at Coronation Plaza (14310 111 Ave NW).           

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Kerry Williamson
AHS Communications
780-905-5890