VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Two new cases of E. Coli in BC have been linked to the XL Foods beef recall.
The BC Centre for Disease Control received lab results Friday confirming the link.
The first case is an adult who was visiting Canada from outside the country and tested positive in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority after consuming beef in both Alberta and BC. That person has since returned home.
An investigation into the source is ongoing.
The second is an adult diagnosed in the Fraser Health Authority. This person consumed beef purchased in BC. An investigation into the source is ongoing. That person is also recovering.
This brings the total number of cases linked to XL Foods to 3 in BC and 15 in Canada.
Dr. Eleni Galanis with the centre says tainted beef have been taken off store shelves but could still be in someone’s freezer. “This is a good opportunity to remind people again to look through their freezers and see whether or not they may have any beef that may been part of this recall.”
“Where did you buy it? When did you eat it? What kind of beef was it? We then try and trace it back to a place where we can say it was XL beef,” Galanis adds.
Tainted beef not the only E. coli scare
Dr. Perry Kendall, BC’s Health Officer, says you also have to be careful of picking up E. coli from apples, specifically in unpasteurized apple juice.
“We have had E. coli associated in the past with unpasteurized fruit juices. We’re know in the period of time in this apple season that people are buying unpasteurized fruit juices at farm-gate sales,” explains Kendall. “Because the apples get contaminated with cow manure maybe in the pasture. So we do recommend that people preferentially buy pasteurized juice and if they’re buying unpasteurized juice, we do recommend that they heat it, let it cool and then drink it.”
He adds he won’t be surprised to see more E. coli cases reported in BC, simply because of the high number of tests that are being done around the province.
Steps to prevent food-borne illness
Some precautions should always be taken when preparing and storing food to prevent food-borne illness, for example:
- Be sure to cook raw beef thoroughly to a final cooking temperature of at least 71C
- Wash your hands before and after cooking
- Keep knives, counters and cutting boards clean
- Keep raw meats separate from other foods when you store them
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly
Consumers are encouraged to check their fridge and/or freezer to see if they have the recalled beef products in their home. If you have any recalled products, discard them or return them to the place of purchase.
E. coli infection may cause mild to severe symptoms including diarrhea and stomach cramps. In severe cases diarrhea may become bloody. Symptoms start an average of three to four days after exposure to the bacteria, and usually last between five to 10 days. Rarely, it can lead to kidney failure and death.
If you think you have an infection caused by E. coli, see your family doctor for testing, advice and treatment.