OTTAWA, Dec. 23, 2014 /CNW/ - Why you should take note
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis) linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples. Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness.
There are currently two cases of listeriosis in Canada with the same genetic fingerprint as seen in the US investigation (one case in Ontario, one case in Manitoba). The investigation continues to determine if these individuals consumed prepackaged caramel apples imported from the US.
The Public Health Agency of Canada and its federal partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada are investigating whether the products potentially linked to illnesses in the US may have been imported into Canada. As a precaution, the Public Health Agency of Canada is advising that Canadians do not eat commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples imported from the US until further notice. This includes plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings. These products could have a shelf life of one month.
Based on current information related to this investigation, the risk to Canadians is low. The Public Health Agency of Canada and its partners will notify Canadians of any increased risk to public health as new information becomes available.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified two cases of illnesses with the same genetic fingerprint as seen in the US investigation. There is one case in Ontario, and one case in Manitoba. The status of these individuals is not known at this time.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with its provincial and territorial partners to determine the source of these illnesses. At this time, it is not known whether these illnesses are linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples imported from the US.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working closely with U.S. officials to determine if any potentially affected product may have been distributed in Canada. If products are identified, the Agency will inform the public and ensure that they are promptly removed from the marketplace.
What you should do
If you have any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples imported from the US in your home, do not eat them. If you have a candy apple product and are unsure if it would qualify as a caramel apple, do not consume it.
Secure the caramel apple in a plastic bag and throw it out. Then wash your hands thoroughly in warm soapy water. Securing it in a plastic bag will ensure that no animals consume the product from your garbage. Food contaminated with Listeria may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick.
If you suspect you have been ill from eating a commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apple, talk to your healthcare provider.
Many people are exposed to Listeria, but only a few will actually develop listeriosis. Mild symptoms may include:
- muscle aches
Severe symptoms may include:
- poor coordination
- neck stiffness
In the milder form of the disease, symptoms can start the following day after consuming a product with Listeria. For the more serious form of the disease, the incubation period is generally much longer; on average about 21 days, but can be up to 70 days after exposure.
Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, but early diagnosis is key, especially for people at high risk, such as pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.
What the Public Health Agency of Canada is doing
The Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with federal, provincial and territorial partners, will continue to monitor for and investigate any new cases of Listeria that may be related to this outbreak as part of its routine surveillance activities.
SOURCE: Public Health Agency of Canada
For further information: Media Contact: Public Health Agency of Canada, Media Relations, (613) 957-2983