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CFIA links Fresh Express salad kit to E. coli outbreak


The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of E. coli infections occurring across five eastern provinces.

The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as recent illnesses continue to be reported to PHAC.

Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to Fresh Express BB #:115030 brand Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak. Many of the individuals who became sick reported having eaten Fresh Express brand Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits before their illnesses occurred. The investigation is ongoing, and it is possible that additional sources could be identified.

On December 8, 2019, the CFIA issued a food recall warning for Fresh Express brand Sunflower Crisp Chopped Kit, 315g packages, UPC Code: 0 71279 30906 4, beginning with lot code Z. These products have a best before date up to and including 07DE19 and were sold in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

For more information on the recalled product, please consult the CFIA’s website.

Canadians are advised not to eat the recalled product or any Fresh Express brand Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits sold in 315g packages, UPC 0 71279 30906 4, beginning with lot code Z, and best before date up to and including 07DEC19. Retailers and food service establishments are advised not to sell or serve these products, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using these products.

The CFIA is continuing its food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If additional products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated food recall warnings.

This public health notice will be updated as the investigation evolves.

Investigation summary
As of December 8, 2019, there are 16 confirmed cases of E. coli O157 illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: Ontario (10), Quebec (1), New Brunswick (3), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1).

Individuals became sick between November 5 and November 22, 2019. Four individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 11 and 73 years of age. The majority of cases (62%) are female.

The collaborative outbreak investigation was initiated because of an increase in reports of E. coli O157 illnesses.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because of the period between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between three and four weeks.