Alberta Health Services (AHS) said it has a “fair degree of confidence” that a recent outbreak of E. coli in the Edmonton area is linked to certain raw and ready-to-eat pork products sold and distributed by the Meat Shop at Pine Haven, south of Wetaskiwin.
The number of lab-confirmed cases in this outbreak has increased to 36, including 11 patients who have needed hospital care and one death that AHS said was “likely” due to E. coli infection.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a food recall warning for certain pork products sold and distributed by The Meat Shop at Pine Haven between Feb. 19 and April 24, 2018.
Dr. Jasmine Hasselback, a medical officer of health for the Edmonton Zone, said the store has been cooperating and has held any product that may be contaminated.
“We know that that is not entering any further into public consumption.”
All cases are “by some degree” linked to the meat shop, Hasselback added. AHS is still looking into how the meat was contaminated in the first place.
AHS and the CFIA are encouraging Albertans who have purchased meat from the Meat Shop at Pine Haven to check for the recalled products, which include lean ground pork, pork ribs and pork bellies. Even though the food may not smell spoiled, AHS said it must be either thrown out or returned to the store where it was purchased.
Businesses should also check if they have any recalled products, AHS said.
On Wednesday, The Meat Shop issued a statement, saying it is also working to notify its customers of the food recall and that it “immediately initiated a voluntary
recall” upon being notified of the positive test results for E. Coli.
“The Meat Shop continues its commitment to the production safe and wholesome food products and will provide further information as it develops over the coming days,” the statement reads in part.
Watch below: It’s been a month since we first learned of an E. coli outbreak in Edmonton. Alberta Health Services now has a sourced for the contamination. Kim Smith reports.
“Our partners with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have added pork products from two other Edmonton facilities,” Hasselback said.
The recall issued Wednesday was expanded Thursday to include certain Irvings Farm Fresh products.
Dozens of products from the farm southeast of Edmonton, which were sold from Feb. 21 up to and including April 25, are being recalled.
The items include sausages, sausage meat, breakfast patties, ground pork, hams, and various cuts of pork including ribs and roasts.
On Wednesday, the CFIA issued a recall warning for a number of pork products sold at K & K Foodliner, a European deli and grocery store in Edmonton’s Old Strathcona neighbourhood. The recalled products were sold by K & K Foodliner between March 2 and April 13.
For a full list of the recalled products that were sold at the deli, click here. The CFIA said the latest recall was prompted by the E. coli “outbreak investigation.” The agency said K & K Foodliner was recalling the products because of possible E. coli contamination.
“We have the 36 cases and they are linked through a variety of epidemiological links so that includes contact to other individuals who are sick, that involves consuming food that — we assume, given that they fell ill — may have been contaminated, and there certainly is a pattern around pork products,” Hasselback said.
The general manager at K & K Foodliner told Global News the recall at his store has to do with pork products they had previously brought in from Pine Haven.
“We currently don’t carry any products from Pine Haven,” Kevin Krause said. “We carried them up until two weeks ago.”
Krause added that he has not heard of anybody getting sick as a result of eating a product purchased at his store.
On April 20, AHS confirmed that 21 E. coli cases were linked to Mama Nita’s Binalot restaurant in Edmonton. However, the agency said Friday it no longer has public health concerns related to the restaurant, which serves Filipino cuisine.
Hasselback said it wasn’t as quick as looking at Mama Nita’s pork supplier, because not everyone who got sick ate pork. She said it is possible the contaminated pork got into the restaurant and was transmitted in other ways.
“There are different means of transmission of this. We’ve talked about the possibility of person-to-person transmission and we do recognize that in some cases, that’s how it was transmitted.
“That’s why we always recommend anyone who’s sick with diarrhea not be cooking and thoroughly washing their hands because this can be transmitted from individual to individual under the right circumstances.”
Hasselback said she didn’t have a list of other restaurants that may have received pork supply from the meat shop.
Watch below: During this week’s ‘Ask The Doctor’ segment, Dr. Shelley Duggan discusses the dangers surrounding E coli.
The main symptom of E. coli is diarrhea, which may be bloody. Kidney failure can develop in more severe cases. Anyone with symptoms of E. coli is encouraged to call Health Link at 811.
Symptoms may take up to 10 days to develop and once they start, patients must are asked to visit their family doctor as soon as possible and mention the possibility of E. coli.
Hasselback said it’s likely that there will be other cases that come to light.
“We will continue to look for them, we will continue to thoroughly investigate them because we want to have that assurance that we do have source control.”
Children, seniors and those who are immunocompromised are at a greater risk of complications from this strain of E. coli, AHS said. Most people will improve on their own in a couple of days.
The infection can be spread by direct contact, but most people will contract it by eating food or drinking water contaminated with human or animal feces.
– With files from Caley Ramsay, Emily Mertz and Phil Heidenreich, Global News