Salmonella fears spark widening food recall
Food safety officials are asking Canadians to cook their food thoroughly and use safe food handling practices following a massive recall in the U.S. over fears of salmonella contamination.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning that hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP), which is a common flavour enhancer, may be contaminated with the bacteria.
So far, about 50 products have been recalled south of the border. While only four products have so far been pulled off the shelves in Canada, the contamination has led to a massive recall in the U.S.
The CFIA says that no illnesses have been confirmed and the risk of contamination is considered "very low."
U.S. officials have yet to confirm that any illnesses have been linked to the problem.
However, there is concern that HVP's widespread use could lead to one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history.
HVP is found in many ready-to-eat foods like hot dogs, potato chips, sauces and snack foods with seasoning.
So far in Canada, two product brands have been pulled.
Two types of T. Marzetti-brand veggie dips:
- Spinach Veggie
- Southwest Ranch Veggie
Tim's Cascade Snacks Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips
- Sweet Maui Onion flavour
- Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Rings
On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. said that 30 products would need to be recalled. By Saturday, that number had swelled to about 50, and more announcements are expected in the coming days.
"We expect this to get larger over the next several days -- actually several weeks," Jeff Farrar, an FDA official, said earlier in the week.
While HVP has been pinpointed as the source of the problem, not all foods containing the ingredient will need to be recalled.
Products which need to be cooked will remain safe, provided consumers cook the products properly, which kills the bacteria.
Other ready-to-eat products could prove to be problematic, however, as the bacteria is unharmed before consumption.
Consuming food contaminated with salmonella is known to cause salmonellosis, which can has been linked to serious infections for children, the elderly and people of all ages with weak immune systems.
For healthy people, salmonellosis can result in headache, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.