Non-market pork products in Canada, source of Salmonella outbreak

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Ontario Ministry of Health are warning food service operators not to purchase, use or serve shredded pork skins and rinds that have been sold to restaurants that prepare Vietnamese / Asian meals in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) due to the possibility Salmonella contamination.

The affected products were sold frozen in clear plastic bags with no labels, lot codes, identifiers and cooking instructions, the CFIA said.

“At the moment, there is no evidence that these products are sold direct to consumers and they do not appear to be available or sold in supermarkets,” the agency said.

A foodborne salmonellosis outbreak triggered a food safety investigation by the agency. Public health officials have confirmed that the outbreak is associated with eating meals containing grated pork rind and / or grated pork skin at some restaurants serving Vietnamese / Asian dishes in the GTA. The number of cases was not confirmed at the time of publication, but the Ontario Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Public Health Ontario, local public health units and food safety partners are investigating the outbreak.

The CFIA has noted that food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell bad, but can still cause illness. Healthy people may have short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Long-term complications can include severe arthritis, according to the agency.

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