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Public Health Notice - Outbreak of E. coli infections linked to various flours and flour products

More information

 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings advising Canadians of various flours and flour products under brand names:

  • Apple Valley
  • Briwood Farm Mkt.
  • Brodie
  • Creative Baker
  • Golden Temple
  • Great Value
  • Lynn's Bakery & Deli
  • Mom's Pantry / Jim & Leonie
  • no name
  • None - Prepared for Apple Valley Foods Corporation /RiccoFoods
  • None - Prepared for Apple Valley Foods Corporation /Sysco
  • Robin Hood
  • The New Food Box
  • Western Family

For additional food recall details on product brand names and lot codes, please consult CFIA's website for this investigation.

May 18, 2017 - Update

This notice has been updated to reflect an additional case in Quebec that has been reported in the outbreak. There are now 30 cases of E. coli O121 under investigation.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E. coli O121 that has been linked to various flour and flour products produced by Ardent Mills. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings advising Canadians of various flours and flour products under various brand names. These food recall warnings were triggered by CFIA findings during its food safety investigation into this outbreak.

This outbreak and these food recall warnings are a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli.

Canadians are advised not to use or eat any recalled flour or flour products. For additional food recall details on product brand names and lot codes, please consult CFIA's website for this investigation. Restaurants and retailers are also advised not to sell or serve any recalled products, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using recalled products.

The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that more products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified. The CFIA is continuing its food safety investigation which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated food recall warnings.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, other animals, and humans. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E. coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 30 cases of E. coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint. Canadian cases were reported in six provinces: British Columbia (13), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (5), Ontario (1), Quebec (1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). One of the 30 cases was a visitor to Canada. The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to April 2017. Eight individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported. The average age of ill individuals is 30 years.

During the food safety investigation conducted by the CFIA, one of the 30 cases of illness was an individual who reported having contact with Robin Hood flour and still had the product at home. A sample was collected from that individual's home and tested positive for E. coli O121. As a result, CFIA reported a single case of illness associated in the March 28 food recall warning. This case is part of the broader investigation into the 30 cases of human illnesses led by PHAC. All 30 cases have a matching genetic fingerprint, and several of those cases have reported having contact with Robin Hood flour.

Since the March 28 recall, the CFIA has issued additional food recall warnings for various flours and flour products produced by Ardent Mills, and other products that were made using recalled flour produced by Ardent Mills. The food recall warnings were triggered by findings during the food safety investigation into this outbreak. The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E. coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Check to see if you have any of the recalled products in your home or place of business. If you do:

  • Do not use or eat recalled flour or flour products. If you have a recalled flour product in your home, secure the recalled product in a plastic bag and throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased for a refund.
  • If you have flour without its original packaging and are unsure if it is included in the food recall, throw it out just to be safe.
  • Thoroughly wash any containers that were used to store the recalled product before using them again.
  • If you suspect you may have used recalled flour to make baked goods or a non-baked product, such as children's play-dough, throw it out. Wash all surfaces or containers where the product may have been used or stored.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately following any contact with the recalled product.

For general use of flour, the following tips will also help reduce your risk of becoming ill:

  • Do not taste raw dough, batter or any other product containing uncooked flour. Eating a small amount could make you sick.
  • Bake or cook items made with raw dough or batter before eating them.
  • Always use hot water and soap to wash any bowls, utensils, or surfaces that flour was used on.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after touching flour, raw dough or batter.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have become ill from eating raw dough or batter or from consuming or handling a flour product.

Symptoms

People infected with E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E. coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada Media Relations
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

May 11, 2017 - Update

This notice has been updated to reflect an additional case that has been reported in the outbreak. There are now 29 cases of E. coli O121 under investigation.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E. coli O121 that has been linked to various flour and flour products produced by Ardent Mills. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings advising Canadians of various flours and flour products under various brand names. These food recall warnings were triggered by CFIA findings during its food safety investigation into this outbreak.

This outbreak and these food recall warnings are a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli.

Canadians are advised not to use or eat any recalled flour or flour products. For additional food recall details on product brand names and lot codes, please consult CFIA's website for this investigation. Restaurants and retailers are also advised not to sell or serve any recalled products, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using recalled products.

The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that more products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified. The CFIA is continuing its food safety investigation which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated food recall warnings.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, other animals, and humans. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E. coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 29 cases of E.coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint. Canadian cases were reported in five provinces: British Columbia (13), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (5), Ontario (1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). One of the 29 cases was a visitor to Canada. The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to April 2017. Eight individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported. The average age of ill individuals is 31 years.

During the food safety investigation conducted by the CFIA, one of the 29 cases of illness was an individual who reported having contact with Robin Hood flour and still had the product at home. A sample was collected from that individual's home and tested positive for E. coli O121. As a result, CFIA reported a single case of illness associated in the March 28 food recall warning. This case is part of the broader investigation into the 29 cases of human illnesses led by PHAC. All 29 cases have a matching genetic fingerprint, and several of those cases have reported having contact with Robin Hood flour.

Since the March 28 recall, the CFIA has issued additional food recall warnings for various flours and flour products produced by Ardent Mills, and other products that were made using recalled flour produced by Ardent Mills. The food recall warnings were triggered by findings during the food safety investigation into this outbreak. The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Check to see if you have any of the recalled products in your home or place of business. If you do:

  • Do not use or eat recalled flour or flour products. If you have a recalled flour product in your home, secure the recalled product in a plastic bag and throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased for a refund.
  • If you have flour without its original packaging and are unsure if it is included in the food recall, throw it out just to be safe.
  • Thoroughly wash any containers that were used to store the recalled product before using them again.
  • If you suspect you may have used recalled flour to make baked goods or a non-baked product, such as children's play-dough, throw it out. Wash all surfaces or containers where the product may have been used or stored.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately following any contact with the recalled product.

For general use of flour, the following tips will also help reduce your risk of becoming ill:

  • Do not taste raw dough, batter or any other product containing uncooked flour. Eating a small amount could make you sick.
  • Bake or cook items made with raw dough or batter before eating them.
  • Always use hot water and soap to wash any bowls, utensils, or surfaces that flour was used on.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after touching flour, raw dough or batter.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have become ill from eating raw dough or batter or from consuming or handling a flour product.

Symptoms

People infected with E.coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E.coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada Media Relations
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

April 28, 2017 - Update

This notice has been updated to reflect additional brands reported in the latest food recall warnings for various flours and flour products related to the outbreak investigation. The additional recalled products were produced using recalled flour produced by Ardent Mills and sold under the following brands: Apple Valley, Great Value, Mom's Pantry / Jim & Leonie, no name, and Western Family.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E. coli O121 that has been linked to various flour and flour products produced by Ardent Mills. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings advising Canadians of various flours and flour products under brand names: Apple Valley, Brodie, Creative Baker, Golden Temple, Great Value, Mom's Pantry / Jim & Leonie, no name, Robin Hood, and Western Family. These food recall warnings were triggered by CFIA findings during its food safety investigation into this outbreak.

These food recall warnings and this outbreak are a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli.

Canadians are advised not to use or eat any recalled flour or flour products. For additional food recall details on product brand names and lot codes, please consult CFIA's website for this investigation. Restaurants and retailers are also advised not to sell or serve any recalled products, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using recalled products.

The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that more products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified. The CFIA is continuing its food safety investigation which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated food recall warnings.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, other animals, and humans. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E. coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 28 cases of E.coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint. Canadian cases were reported in five provinces: British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (5), Ontario (1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). One of the 28 cases was a visitor to Canada. The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to March 2017. Seven individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported. The average age of ill individuals is 24 years.

During the food safety investigation conducted by the CFIA, one of the 28 cases of illness was an individual who reported having contact with Robin Hood flour and still had the product at home. A sample was collected from that individual's home and tested positive for E. coli O121. As a result, CFIA reported a single case of illness associated in the March 28 food recall warning. This case is part of the broader investigation into the 28 cases of human illnesses led by PHAC. All 28 cases have a matching genetic fingerprint, and several of those cases have reported having contact with Robin Hood flour.

Since the March 28 recall, the CFIA has issued additional food recall warnings for various flours and flour products produced by Ardent Mills, and other products that were made using recalled flour produced by Ardent Mills. The food recall warnings were triggered by findings during the food safety investigation into this outbreak. The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Check to see if you have any of the recalled products in your home or place of business. If you do:

  • Do not use or eat recalled flour or flour products. If you have a recalled flour product in your home, secure the recalled product in a plastic bag and throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased for a refund.
  • If you have flour without its original packaging and are unsure if it is included in the food recall, throw it out just to be safe.
  • Thoroughly wash any containers that were used to store the recalled product before using them again.
  • If you suspect you may have used recalled flour to make baked goods or a non-baked product, such as children's play-dough, throw it out. Wash all surfaces or containers where the product may have been used or stored.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately following any contact with the recalled product.

For general use of flour, the following tips will also help reduce your risk of becoming ill:

  • Do not taste raw dough, batter or any other product containing uncooked flour. Eating a small amount could make you sick.
  • Bake or cook items made with raw dough or batter before eating them.
  • Always use hot water and soap to wash any bowls, utensils, or surfaces that flour was used on.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after touching flour, raw dough or batter.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have become ill from eating raw dough or batter or from consuming or handling a flour product.

Symptoms

People infected with E.coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E.coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations

613-957-2983

Public Inquiries
Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

April 20, 2017 - Update

This notice has been updated to reflect two additional cases that have been reported in the outbreak investigation. There are now 28 cases of E.coli O121 linked to various flours and flour products. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued food recall warnings for various flours and flour products related to the outbreak investigation. These recall warnings were triggered by findings during the food safety investigation into this outbreak. Canadians are advised to not eat or use any recalled flour or flour products. These food recall warnings and this outbreak are a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli. Follow safe flour handling practices to reduce your risk of becoming sick.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E. coli O121 that has been linked to various flour and flour products produced by Ardent Mills. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings advising Canadians of various flours and flour products under brand names Brodie, Creative Baker, Golden Temple, and Robin Hood, which were produced by Ardent Mills. These food recall warnings were triggered by CFIA findings during its food safety investigation into this outbreak.

These food recall warnings and this outbreak are a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli.

Canadians are advised not to use or eat any recalled flour or flour products. For additional food recall details on product brand names and lot codes, please consult CFIA's website for this investigation. Restaurants and retailers are also advised not to sell or serve any recalled products, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using recalled products.

The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that more products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified. The CFIA is continuing its food safety investigation which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated food recall warnings.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, other animals, and humans. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E. coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 28 cases of E.coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint. Canadian cases were reported in five provinces: British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (5), Ontario (1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). One of the 28 cases was a visitor to Canada. The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to March 2017. Seven individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported. The average age of ill individuals is 24 years.

During the food safety investigation, samples of Robin Hood All Purpose, Original flour were collected and did test positive for E. coli O121. Several individuals who became ill reported having contact with Robin Hood flour. The CFIA has issued food recall warnings for various flours and flours products produced by Ardent Mills that were triggered by findings during the food safety investigation into this outbreak. The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Check to see if you have any of the recalled products in your home or place of business. If you do:

  • Do not use or eat recalled flour or flour products. If you have a recalled flour product in your home, secure the recalled product in a plastic bag and throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased for a refund.
  • If you have flour without its original packaging and are unsure if it is included in the food recall, throw it out just to be safe.
  • Thoroughly wash any containers that were used to store the recalled product before using them again.
  • If you suspect you may have used recalled flour to make baked goods or a non-baked product, such as children's play-dough, throw it out. Wash all surfaces or containers where the product may have been used or stored.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately following any contact with the recalled product.

For general use of flour, the following tips will also help reduce your risk of becoming ill:

  • Do not taste raw dough, batter or any other product containing uncooked flour. Eating a small amount could make you sick.
  • Bake or cook items made with raw dough or batter before eating them.
  • Always use hot water and soap to wash any bowls, utensils, or surfaces that flour was used on.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after touching flour, raw dough or batter.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have become ill from eating raw dough or batter or from consuming or handling a flour product.

Symptoms

People infected with E.coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E.coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

April 13, 2017 - Update

This notice has been updated to include information about an updated food recall warning related to the outbreak investigation that was triggered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency findings during its food safety investigation into this outbreak. Canadians are advised to not eat or use any recalled flour or flour products included in the updated food recall warning. These food recall warnings and this outbreak are a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli. Follow safe flour handling practices to reduce your risk of becoming sick.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E. coli O121 that has been linked to various flour and flour products produced by Ardent Mills. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued an updated food recall warning advising Canadians of several flours and flour products under brand names Brodie, Creative Baker, Golden Temple, and Robin Hood, which were produced by Ardent Mills. This updated food recall warning was triggered by CFIA findings during its food safety investigation into this outbreak.

These food recall warnings and this outbreak are a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli.

The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that more products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified. The CFIA is continuing its food safety investigation which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated food recall warnings.

Canadians are advised not to use or eat any recalled flour or flour products. For additional food recall details on product brand names and lot codes, please consult CFIA's recall notice. Restaurants and retailers are also advised not to sell or serve any recalled products, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using recalled products.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, other animals, and humans. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E. coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 26 cases of E.coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint. Canadian cases were reported in four provinces: British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (4) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). One of the 26 cases was a visitor to Canada. The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to February 2017. Six individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported. The majority (54%) of the individuals who became ill are male with an average age of 24 years.

During the food safety investigation, samples of Robin Hood All Purpose, Original flour were collected and did test positive for E. coli O121. Several individuals who became ill reported having contact with Robin Hood flour. The CFIA has issued food recall warnings for various flours and flours products produced by Ardent Mills that were triggered by findings during the food safety investigation into this outbreak. The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Check to see if you have any of the recalled products in your home or place of business. If you do:

  • Do not use or eat recalled flour or flour products. If you have a recalled flour product in your home, secure the recalled product in a plastic bag and throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased for a refund.
  • If you have flour without its original packaging and are unsure if it is included in the food recall, throw it out just to be safe.
  • Thoroughly wash any containers that were used to store the recalled product before using them again.
  • If you suspect you may have used recalled flour to make baked goods or a non-baked product, such as children's play-dough, throw it out. Wash all surfaces or containers where the product may have been used or stored.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately following any contact with the recalled product.

For general use of flour, the following tips will also help reduce your risk of becoming ill:

  • Do not taste raw dough or batter. Eating a small amount could make you sick.
  • Bake or cook items made with raw dough or batter before eating them.
  • Always use hot water and soap to wash any bowls, utensils, or surfaces that flour was used on.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after touching flour, raw dough or batter.
Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have become ill from eating raw dough or batter or from consuming or handling a flour product.

Symptoms

People infected with E.coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever
Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E. coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada Media Relations
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

April 5, 2017 - Update

This notice has been updated to include information about an updated food recall warning that is related to the outbreak investigation. Canadians are advised to not eat or use the recalled flour product that has been distributed nationally. An additional case of E.coli O121 has also been reported in the outbreak. There are now 26 cases under investigation, including one visitor to Canada.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E.coliO121 that has now been linked to Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued an updated food recall warning advising Canadians of the recalled product that has been distributed nationally. The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified.

Canadians are advised not to use or eat any Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original sold in 10 kilogram bags with a code containing BB/MA 2018 AL 17 and 6 291 548 as these products may be contaminated with E. coli. For additional recall details, please consult CFIA's recall notice. Restaurants and retailers are also advised not to sell or serve the recalled product, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using the recalled product.

This outbreak is a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, other animals, and humans. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E. coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 26 cases of E.coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint. Canadian cases were reported in four provinces: British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (4) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). One of the 26 cases was a visitor to Canada. The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to late February 2017. Six individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported. The majority (54%) of the individuals who became ill are male with an average age of 24 years.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a food recall warning for Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original linked to this outbreak. During the food safety investigation, samples of Robin Hood flour were collected and did test positive for E. coli O121. Several individuals who became ill reported having contact with Robin Hood flour. The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Check to see if you have the recalled product in your home or place of business. If you do:

  • Do not use or eat recalled Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original. Secure the recalled product in a plastic bag and throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased for a refund.
  • If you have flour without its original packaging and are unsure if it is included in the food recall, throw it out just to be safe.
  • Thoroughly wash any containers that were used to store the recalled product before using them again.
  • If you suspect you may have used recalled flour to make baked goods or a non-baked product, such as children's play-dough, throw it out. Wash all surfaces or containers where the product may have been used or stored.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately following any contact with the recalled product.

For general use of flour, the following tips will also help reduce your risk of becoming ill:

  • Do not taste raw dough or batter. Eating a small amount could make you sick.
  • Bake or cook items made with raw dough or batter before eating them.
  • Always use hot water and soap to wash any bowls, utensils, or surfaces that flour was used on.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after touching flour, raw dough or batter.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have become ill from eating raw dough or batter or from consuming or handling a flour product.

Symptoms

People infected with E.coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E.coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada Media Relations
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

March 28, 2017 - Update

This notice has been updated to include information about a food recall warning that is related to the outbreak investigation. Canadians are advised to not eat or use the recalled flour product. Additional advice on safe food practices for preparing raw dough and batter is also included.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E.coli O121 that has now been linked to Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a food recall warning advising Canadians of the recalled product that has been distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified.

Canadians are advised not to use or eat any Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original sold in 10 kilogram bags with a code containing BB/MA 2018 AL 17 and 6 291 548 as these products may be contaminated with E. coli. For additional recall details, please consult CFIA's recall notice. Restaurants and retailers are also advised not to sell or serve the recalled product, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using the recalled product.

This outbreak is a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E.coli.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, other animals, and humans. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E.coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 25 cases of E.coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint reported in four provinces: British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (4) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to late February 2017. Six individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported. The majority (54%) of the individuals who became ill are male with an average age of 24 years.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a food recall warning for Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original linked to this outbreak. During the food safety investigation, samples of Robin Hood flour were collected and did test positive for E.coli O121. Several individuals who became ill reported having contact with Robin Hood flour. The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Check to see if you have the recalled product in your home or place of business. If you do:

  • Do not use or eat recalled Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original. Secure the recalled product in a plastic bag and throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased for a refund.
  • If you have flour without its original packaging and are unsure if it is included in the food recall, throw it out just to be safe.
  • Thoroughly wash any containers that were used to store the recalled product before using them again.
  • If you suspect you may have used recalled flour to make baked goods or a non-baked product, such as children's play-dough, throw it out. Wash all surfaces or containers where the product may have been used or stored.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately following any contact with the recalled product.

For general use of flour, the following tips will also help reduce your risk of becoming ill:

  • Do not taste raw dough or batter. Eating a small amount could make you sick.
  • Bake or cook items made with raw dough or batter before eating them.
  • Always use hot water and soap to wash any bowls, utensils, or surfaces that flour was used on.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after touching flour, raw dough or batter.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have become ill from eating raw dough or batter or from consuming or handling a flour product.

Symptoms

People infected with E.coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E.coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada Media Relations
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

March 13, 2017 - Update

This notice has been updated to reflect four additional cases in British Columbia that have been reported in the outbreak. There are now 24 cases of E.coli O121 under investigation.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E.coli O121. The source of the outbreak has not been identified, and the investigation is ongoing.

The risk to Canadians is low. However, Canadians are reminded to follow safe food handling practices to avoid illness.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E.coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 24 cases of E. coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint reported in four provinces: British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (3) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to February 2017. Six individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing.

Two of the most common ways to come into contact with E. coli are by improperly handling raw ground meat and by eating ground meat that is undercooked. Common sources of E.coli may also be contaminated raw fruits and vegetables, untreated water, unpasteurized milk and raw milk products, and unpasteurized apple juice or cider.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Foods contaminated with E. coli look, smell and taste normal. E. coli and many other harmful bacteria can be killed by cooking food properly. The following tips will help reduce your risk of becoming ill from E. coli:

  • Foods contaminated with E. coli look, smell and taste normal. E. coli and many other harmful bacteria can be killed by cooking food properly. The following tips will help reduce your risk of becoming ill from E. coli:
    • Cook food to a safe internal temperature using a digital thermometer.
    • Do not eat hamburger patties that are pink in the middle. If served an undercooked hamburger, send it back for further cooking. Ask for a new bun and a clean plate.
    • Avoid spreading harmful bacteria. Keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods.
    • Use warm soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, your hands and any surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat and fish.
    • Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean, safe running water before you prepare and eat them. Use a brush to scrub produce with firm or rough surfaces, like oranges, cantaloupes, potatoes and carrots.
    • Read labels and follow cooking and storage instructions for all food. When buying food, make sure to check the "best before" date, and if the product has expired, let the store know.
    • If you think you are infected with E. coli bacteria or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not prepare food for other people.

Symptoms

People infected with E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E.coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada Media Relations
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

 

February 27, 2017 - Update

This notice has been updated to reflect three additional cases in British Columbia, and one case in Alberta that have been reported in the outbreak. There are now 20 cases of E.coli O121 under investigation.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E.coli O121. The source of the outbreak has not been identified, and the investigation is ongoing.

The risk to Canadians is low. However, Canadians are reminded to follow safe food handling practices to avoid illness.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E.coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 20 cases of E.coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint reported in four provinces: British Columbia (8), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (3) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to January 2017. Five individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing.

Two of the most common ways to come into contact with E. coli are by improperly handling raw ground meat and by eating ground meat that is undercooked. Common sources of E.coli may also be contaminated raw fruits and vegetables, untreated water, unpasteurized milk and raw milk products, and unpasteurized apple juice or cider.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Foods contaminated with E. coli look, smell and taste normal. E. coli and many other harmful bacteria can be killed by cooking food properly. The following tips will help reduce your risk of becoming ill from E. coli:

  • Foods contaminated with E. coli look, smell and taste normal. E. coli and many other harmful bacteria can be killed by cooking food properly. The following tips will help reduce your risk of becoming ill from E. coli:
    • Cook food to a safe internal temperature using a digital thermometer.
    • Do not eat hamburger patties that are pink in the middle. If served an undercooked hamburger, send it back for further cooking. Ask for a new bun and a clean plate.
    • Avoid spreading harmful bacteria. Keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods.
    • Use warm soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, your hands and any surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat and fish.
    • Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean, safe running water before you prepare and eat them. Use a brush to scrub produce with firm or rough surfaces, like oranges, cantaloupes, potatoes and carrots.
    • Read labels and follow cooking and storage instructions for all food. When buying food, make sure to check the "best before" date, and if the product has expired, let the store know.
    • If you think you are infected with E. coli bacteria or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not prepare food for other people.

Symptoms

People infected with E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E.coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada Media Relations
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

 

February 2, 2017 - Update

This notice has been updated to reflect two cases in Alberta that have been reported in the outbreak. There are now 16 cases of E.coli O121 under investigation.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E.coli O121. The source of the outbreak has not been identified, and the investigation is ongoing.

The risk to Canadians is low. However, Canadians are reminded to follow safe food handling practices to avoid illness.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E.coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 16 cases of E.coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint reported in four provinces: British Columbia (5), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (2) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to January 2017. Five individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing.

Two of the most common ways to come into contact with E. coli are by improperly handling raw ground meat and by eating ground meat that is undercooked. Common sources of E.coli may also be contaminated raw fruits and vegetables, untreated water, unpasteurized milk and raw milk products, and unpasteurized apple juice or cider.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Foods contaminated with E. coli look, smell and taste normal. E. coli and many other harmful bacteria can be killed by cooking food properly. The following tips will help reduce your risk of becoming ill from E. coli:

  • Cook food to a safe internal temperature using a digital thermometer.
  • Do not eat hamburger patties that are pink in the middle. If served an undercooked hamburger, send it back for further cooking. Ask for a new bun and a clean plate.
  • Avoid spreading harmful bacteria. Keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Use warm soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, your hands and any surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat and fish.
  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean, safe running water before you prepare and eat them. Use a brush to scrub produce with firm or rough surfaces, like oranges, cantaloupes, potatoes and carrots.
  • Read labels and follow cooking and storage instructions for all food. When buying food, make sure to check the "best before" date, and if the product has expired, let the store know.
  • If you think you are infected with E. coli bacteria or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not prepare food for other people.

Symptoms

People infected with E.coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E.coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada Media Relations
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

 

January 26, 2017 - Update

This notice has been updated to reflect two additional cases that have been reported in the outbreak. There are now 14 cases of E.coli O121 under investigation.

 

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E.coli O121. The source of the outbreak has not been identified, and the investigation is ongoing.

The risk to Canadians is low. However, Canadians are reminded to follow safe food handling practices to avoid illness.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E.coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 14 cases of E.coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint reported in three provinces: British Columbia (5), Saskatchewan (4), and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to January 2017. Five individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing.

Two of the most common ways to come into contact with E. coli are by improperly handling raw ground meat and by eating ground meat that is undercooked. Common sources of E.coli may also be contaminated raw fruits and vegetables, untreated water, unpasteurized milk and raw milk products, and unpasteurized apple juice or cider.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Foods contaminated with E. coli look, smell and taste normal. E. coli and many other harmful bacteria can be killed by cooking food properly. The following tips will help reduce your risk of becoming ill from E. coli:

  • Cook food to a safe internal temperature using a digital thermometer.
  • Do not eat hamburger patties that are pink in the middle. If served an undercooked hamburger, send it back for further cooking. Ask for a new bun and a clean plate.
  • Avoid spreading harmful bacteria. Keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Use warm soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, your hands and any surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat and fish.
  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean, safe running water before you prepare and eat them. Use a brush to scrub produce with firm or rough surfaces, like oranges, cantaloupes, potatoes and carrots.
  • Read labels and follow cooking and storage instructions for all food. When buying food, make sure to check the "best before" date, and if the product has expired, let the store know.
  • If you think you are infected with E. coli bacteria or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not prepare food for other people.

Symptoms

People infected with E.coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E.coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada Media Relations
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca

 

January 13, 2017 - Original Notice

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E.coli O121. The source of the outbreak has not been identified, and the investigation is ongoing.

The risk to Canadians is low. However, Canadians are reminded to follow safe food handling practices to avoid illness.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E.coli and some varieties can cause serious illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Investigation Summary

There have been 12 cases of E.coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint reported in three provinces: British Columbia (4), Saskatchewan (4), and Newfoundland and Labrador (4). The illness onset dates range from November to December 2016. Four individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing.

Two of the most common ways to come into contact with E. coli are by improperly handling raw ground meat and by eating ground meat that is undercooked. Common sources of E.coli may also be contaminated raw fruits and vegetables, untreated water, unpasteurized milk and raw milk products, and unpasteurized apple juice or cider.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Foods contaminated with E. coli look, smell and taste normal. E. coli and many other harmful bacteria can be killed by cooking food properly. The following tips will help reduce your risk of becoming ill from E. coli:

  • Cook food to a safe internal temperature using a digital thermometer.
  • Do not eat hamburger patties that are pink in the middle. If served an undercooked hamburger, send it back for further cooking. Ask for a new bun and a clean plate.
  • Avoid spreading harmful bacteria. Keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Use warm soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, your hands and any surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat and fish.
  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean, safe running water before you prepare and eat them. Use a brush to scrub produce with firm or rough surfaces, like oranges, cantaloupes, potatoes and carrots.
  • Read labels and follow cooking and storage instructions for all food. When buying food, make sure to check the "best before" date, and if the product has expired, let the store know.
  • If you think you are infected with E. coli bacteria or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not prepare food for other people.

Symptoms

People infected with E.coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E.coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada Media Relations

613-957-2983

Public Inquiries

Call toll-free: 1-866-225-0709
Email: info@hc-sc.gc.ca