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Canada Confirms Link Between Listeriosis, Maple Leaf Foods

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have received laboratory results from Health Canada that establish a link between meat products recalled by Maple Leaf Foods from their plant in Toronto and an outbreak of listeriosis in four provinces. To date, 21 cases of listeriosis have been confirmed, and the same strain has been detected in four people who have died. A further 30 cases remain under investigation.

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The investigation into the cause of the outbreak is complex. Results of genetic testing from three samples of the products recalled by Maple Leaf Foods show that two tested positive for the outbreak strain of listeria. Test results for the third product were a close match to the outbreak strain, but showed a slight variance. While these results are highly significant, and indicate that the investigation is on the right path, the investigation is not complete. Test results on additional food samples expected next week will advance the investigation further.

It would not have been possible to establish the link between the food samples and outbreak cases of listeriosis without the full cooperation of all parties involved, including provincial, territorial and local health units, federal departments and agencies, and Maple Leaf Foods. All parties are continuing to work together on the investigation.

Because the onset of symptoms of listeriosis can occur up to 70 days after contaminated food is consumed, it is expected that the number of confirmed and suspected cases will continue to increase over the next several weeks. Up-to-date information on the number of cases in the outbreak is available on the website of the Public Health Agency of Canada.