12 dead, 26 confirmed ill, 29 more suspected in Canadian listeria outbreak
Posted: August 25th, 2008 - 8:51pm by Doug Powell
I was talking with my mom yesterday. Her and dad live in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, and she asked if I was busy with the listeria outbreak. I asked her if she was concerned at all, and she says she doesn’t buy deli meat – her, and more often, dad, will cook a roast or a ham and eat leftovers.
At that point, I realized I had become my parents. I do buy the occasional shaved turkey breast, and lots of smoked salmon, but it’s been nothing but roasts and birds fillets for the past six months of Amy’s pregnancy.
Others in Canada aren’t so sure what to do.
Ken Barnett of Ajax, Ontario, said that in the future, he and his wife are sticking to salads and salmon for lunch. I wonder if he knows smoked salmon is another one of those refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods that can harbor listeria.
“We’ve sort of made a decision not to buy any cold meats for the time being.”
Meanwhile, health types announced this afternoon that the number of dead in the Maple Leaf listeria outbreak has risen to six confirmed and six more suspected deaths, along with 26 confirmed illnesses and another 29 suspected ill.
Meat types this afternoon said the Canadian meat supply was among the safest in the world, and that,
“Canadian consumers should be assured that Canada's meat supply is recognized amongst the safest in the world.”
The release went on to describe all the money that has been invested in the meat system and that consumers needed to do their part. I’m sure none of this was reassuring to the dead and sick, especially since these are ready-to-eat products.
Medical types on Vancouver Island received a letter warning them to be on the lookout for patients with symptoms of listeria. Shouldn’t this have happened two months ago when the first cases were reported?
And an academic type, my buddy Rick Holley at the University of Manitoba, said he wasn't surprised to learn of the listeria outbreak since Canada's tracking of food-related illnesses is inadequate, and that,
"I am constantly troubled by the lack of surveillance information on foodborne and waterborne illnesses in Canada.”