CFIA said the recall was triggered by an ongoing foodborne illness outbreak investigation led by Alberta Health Services (AHS) and supported by the CFIA. AHS reported 34 lab-confirmed cases in that outbreak; one person has died likely because of an E. coli infection while 11 patients were hospitalized.
Twenty-one of the case patients’ illnesses were linked to Mama Nita’s Binalot restaurant in Edmonton. But 13 lab-confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7 have no known links to the restaurant. The death was not linked to the restaurant, AHS added. “At this time, we have not identified the source of these cases, however we do believe they are linked to the initial outbreak,” the health agency said.
“This outbreak is extremely complex, however AHS, in partnership with other provincial and federal agencies, is doing all we can to protect the health of Albertans,” said Dr. Chris Sikora, Medical Officer of Health, Edmonton Zone. “The risk of illness remains very low.”
AHS said the agency no longer has public health concerns about Mama Nita’s Binalot, and that the owners took significant steps to address the problem. The restaurant was closed until AHS could confirm there was no longer a public health risk.
“Environmental public health staff have worked closely with the restaurant operator and staff to increase safety and reduce risk,” AHS explained. “These measures include increased hand hygiene measures, food safety re-education for staff, some minor renovations, and close monitoring of food handling practices.”
Meanwhile, the CFIA is verifying that the affected raw pork products have been removed from the marketplace.