Saturday August 2 – OICC call #4

  Day 13: Saturday August 2, 2014 (n=15)

  • You share the results of focused questionnaire with OICC members:
    • Hamburgers appear to be the most consistently reported exposure with all four of the interviewed cases report eating hamburgers.
    • The other suspect food items, romaine lettuce, red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon and strawberries were reported by two or fewer cases.
    • Three cases recalled the brand names of the hamburger products they consumed; two cases reporting “Happy Burger” and one case reporting “Farmer Fred’s” hamburger products.
    • Two frozen hamburger samples have been (or will be) collected for laboratory testing – one “Happy Burger”and one “Farmer Fred’s”.
  • Saskatchewan reports that they have submitted a frozen burger sample from one of their cases’ home to the CFIA laboratory for testing.
  • Manitoba reports that they that they have also submitted the frozen burger sample from their case’s home. They also clarified that the box of hamburgers was opened.
  • CFIA has been conducting a detailed traceback investigation based on the information provided off of the product boxes from the two cases’ homes (in Saskatchewan and Manitoba). The investigation revealed that the hamburgers from the two different brands were in fact produced at same facility in Alberta. The facility also produces two additional brands of hamburgers as well as one other ground beef product (frozen meatballs). Inspection of the facility has begun. The company is very cooperative. The two implicated brands have been distributed in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, and Yukon Territory. The hamburgers were packaged in early June (June 2-8, 2014) and shipment to distribution centres (and subsequently grocery stores) started on June 9, 2014. No other brands or products were produced during this time period. Environmental samples from the facility as well as samples of the implicated products, products produced before and those produced after the implicated time frame, will be obtained and tested by the CFIA.
  • Members of the OICC further agree that all parties will share media lines and communication products for a coordinated response and will aim to post at the same time. A separate call to discuss communications will be scheduled, since public communications will include both a recall notice and a public health notice. The public health notice goes beyond a recall notice, and will include high-level information about the investigation as well as general food safety advice (e.g., food handling in BBQ season). A separate call is required since messages and web postings need to be coordinated with all of the provinces involved. The call is led by the communications team.