The firm is recalling Janes brand frozen uncooked breaded chicken due to Salmonella.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said there are 18 S. Enteritidis infections in Ontario (10), two each in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and one each in British Columbia and Alberta and six people have been hospitalized.
One of the ill individuals has died but it is not determined if Salmonella contributed to the death.
Individuals became sick between June and September. The average age of cases is 41 years ranging between 0 to 85 and the majority (67%) are female.
Positive sample, genetic match and recall
Janes Pub Style Chicken Burgers – Uncooked Breaded Chicken Burgers with product code 2018 MA 12 and Pub Style Snacks Popcorn Chicken – Uncooked Breaded Chicken Cutlettes with product code 2018 MA 15 are affected.
The 800g products were distributed nationally at retail level.
Sofina Foods said regardless of Salmonella being destroyed when proper cooking instructions are followed it was making the recall.
‘Several’ ill people reported eating Janes Pub Style Chicken Burgers before illness occurred. PHAC would not tell us how many.
The recall was triggered due to findings by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) during its investigation into the outbreak.
Food samples of the recalled products tested positive for S. Enteritidis.
Positive samples had the same genetic fingerprint (using whole genome sequencing) as the cases of illness in the outbreak.
Two times in three years
It is the third national outbreak investigation since 2015 that has led to the recall of frozen breaded chicken.
Sofina Foods recalled no name and Compliments brands frozen uncooked breaded chicken due to Salmonella contamination in July 2015.
There were 51 cases of illness in four provinces between January and July, 2015 and 12 people were hospitalized.
Janes became a wholly owned subsidiary of Sofina Foods in 2012.
PHAC said illnesses can be avoided if safe handling, preparation and cooking practices are followed when preparing frozen raw breaded chicken.
It advised that such products are cooked to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F).
Symptoms of Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start six to 72 hours after exposure to bacteria and usually last for four to seven days.