A recall has been issued for Compliments brand chicken strips, with the product linked to an outbreak of Salmonella in several provinces currently being investigated by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
The recall was issued on May 24 by Sofina Foods Inc., a private processed foods manufacturer and packager, after PHAC identified the chicken strips as a source of a Salmonella outbreak in humans. Compliments is a private label brand from Sobeys Inc., Canada’s second-largest food retailer, and is sold in Sobeys, Foodland, IGA, FreshCo, and Price Chopper.
The specific product in the recall warning from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is identified as Compliments brand Chicken Strips—in this case uncooked breaded chicken cutlettes—with a best before date of “2019 NO 24” written on the box, which also states the size of “907 g.” The bag inside that holds the chicken strips has the product code “3288M” written on it. The product’s universal product code is 0 57742 33687 0.
— CFIA – Food (@CFIA_Food) May 27, 2019
In the recall warning, the CFIA says the chicken strips haven’t been sold nationally since May 1, 2019, but consumers may still have the product in their freezers. The agency says the recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.
“If you think you became sick from consuming a recalled product, call your doctor,” the warning says.
The CFIA warns that many frozen breaded chicken products are raw, even though they may appear to be pre-cooked, so they should be handled and prepared with caution. Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled, but it can still make you sick.
According to PHAC, anyone can become sick from a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors, and those with weak immune systems are at a higher risk. Most who become ill from a Salmonella infection recover in a few days, but it’s possible for people to become infected and spread the infection without showing any symptoms.
PHAC warns that symptoms of an infection typically start 6 to 72 hours after one is exposed to the Salmonella bacteria. Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, and vomiting. While symptoms typically last for four to seven days, people can remain infectious from several days to several weeks.
On May 25, PHAC announced a new active national Salmonella outbreak linked to raw chicken, including raw breaded chicken products such as the chicken strips from Compliments.
OUTBREAKS UPDATE: There is a new outbreak of #Salmonella illnesses linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products. @CFIA_Food has issued a related food recall warning. Find out more: https://t.co/HrTXEmvICK pic.twitter.com/xZkfWXCoeS
— GovCanHealth (@GovCanHealth) May 27, 2019
There are 11 cases so far in the current Salmonella outbreak: two in British Columbia, one in Alberta, two in Ontario, three in Quebec, one in New Brunswick, one in Nova Scotia, and one in Prince Edward Island. The individuals became sick between September 2018 and 2019, with one person having been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
As of May 25, there have been 584 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella investigated by PHAC, with 97 individuals hospitalized as a part of those outbreaks.
The CFIA introduced new measures to control and reduce the risk of Salmonella in frozen raw breaded chicken products on April 1. This includes the addition of preservatives approved by Health Canada, which would be included in the ingredient list. The new requirements would affect ground, chopped, or formed raw, breaded, par-fried chicken products for retail, including products like chicken nuggets, pieces, strips, burgers, and popcorn chicken.