Listeria in Maple Leaf cold-cuts killed 23 primarily-elderly Canadians in the fall of 2008.
Prior to the 2008 outbreak, the advice from Health Canada was mushy:
“Although the risk of listeriosis associated with foods from deli counters, such as sliced packaged meat and poultry products, is relatively low, pregnant women and immunosuppressed persons may choose to avoid these foods."
The advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control was clear: Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats, unless they are reheated.
Of course, most mortals don’t go to federal agencies for advice – they ask their doctors or nurses or medical professionals. And who knows what kind of nonsense will spew out.
Regardless, Health Canada took to the Intertubes today to remind Canadians of the importance of food safety for older adults. Old people, listen up:
“As you age, it becomes harder for your immune system to fight off harmful bacteria. This means that older adults can come down with a serious illness if they eat contaminated food. For this reason, it is very important to choose, handle and cook food properly before eating. It is very important for older adults or their caregivers to follow food safety steps to help reduce the risk of foodborne illness.”
Betty White – was that wiener steaming hot?
Health Canada now says, and has for a couple of years, that you old folks – and I’m rapidly becoming one of them, heading out for the afternoon early bird dinner specials here in Florida -- make sure to cook hot dogs and deli meats until they are steaming hot before eating them.”
That’s nice. But Health Canada has still said nothing – at least not publicly – about the morons at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Kids, who said expectant mommies can eat all the cold-cuts they want as long as they are from reputable sources.
Just because advice is issued, doesn’t mean that anyone pays attention. Go on, Health Canada, get dirty, engage people, even if you upset some. Or play nice, be ignored, and let more people get sick. Is that category on your annual review?