Public Health Notice - Outbreak Of Listeria infections Linked To Rosemount Brand Cooked Diced Chicken

Aug. 20, 2019

OTTAWA, Aug. 19, 2019 /CNW/ - Original Notice

Why you should take note

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections involving three provinces: British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario.

Based on the investigation findings to date, Rosemount brand cooked diced chicken has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak. Rosemount cooked diced chicken was supplied to institutions (including cafeterias, hospitals and nursing homes) where many of the individuals who became sick resided, or visited, before becoming ill.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a food recall warning for Rosemount brand cooked diced chicken meat 13mm - ½" (#16305), packdate - 01/21/2019. This product was distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia and may have been distributed to other provinces and territories. The recalled product is packaged for hotels, restaurants and institutions, not for retail sales. For additional food recall details on product names and lot codes, please consult CFIA's website.

Food service establishments are advised not to sell or serve any recalled products, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using recalled products.

The investigation is ongoing, and it is possible that more products linked to the outbreak investigation will be identified. The CFIA is continuing its food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated food recall warnings.

This public health notice will be updated on a regular basis as the investigation evolves.

Investigation summary

As of August 18, 2019, there have been 7 confirmed cases of Listeria monocytogenes illness in three provinces: British Columbia (1), Manitoba (1) and Ontario (5). Individuals became sick between November 2017 and June 2019. Six individuals have been hospitalized. Individuals who became ill are between 51 and 97 years of age. The majority of cases (86%) are female.

The collaborative outbreak investigation was initiated because of an increase of Listeria illnesses that were reported in June 2019. Through the use of a laboratory method called whole genome sequencing, two Listeria illnesses from November 2017 were identified to have the same genetic strain as the illnesses that occurred between April and June 2019.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because of the delay between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. This period is called the case reporting delay. In national Listeria monocytogenes outbreak investigations, the case reporting delay is usually between 4 and 6 weeks.

Who is most at risk

Anyone can become sick from Listeria bacteria, but those at highest risk of serious illness include pregnant women, their unborn children and newborns, adults 65 and over, and people with weakened immune systems. In addition to not eating the recalled product, high-risk individuals should follow safe food handling practices and should always avoid high-risk food items more prone to contamination with Listeria bacteria such as:

  • raw or undercooked meat, poultry and fish;
  • unpasteurized (raw) milk, cheeses and other food made from unpasteurized milk, as well as pasteurized soft cheeses or mould ripened cheese, such as Brie and Camembert;
  • ready-to-eat meats such as hot dogs, pâté and deli meats; and
  • refrigerated smoked seafood and fish.

What you should do to protect your health

  • If you have Rosemount brand cooked diced chicken meat 13mm - ½" (#16305), packdate - 01/21/2019 in your food establishment, do not eat the product or serve it to others
  • Secure the product and any foods made with the product in a plastic bag, throw it out and wash your hands with warm soapy water.
  • If you are unsure whether your Rosemount brand chicken is part of the food recall warning, do not serve or consume it and throw it out.
  • Foods that are contaminated with Listeria may look, smell and taste normal. Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can survive and sometimes grow on foods being stored in the refrigerator.
  • If you suspect you have become ill from eating Rosemount brand cooked diced chicken meat, or have symptoms consistent with listeriosis, talk with your healthcare provider.


While many people are exposed to the Listeria bacteria, only some will become ill with listerioisis (an infection caused by Listeria bacteria). Symptoms can start as early as 3 days after eating contaminated food. You may have the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • nausea
  • cramps
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • constipation
  • muscle aches

In severe cases, the bacteria can spread to the nervous system (the brain, spinal cord and nerves). Symptoms of severe listeriosis include:

  • stiff neck
  • confusion
  • headache
  • loss of balance

Symptoms of severe listeriosis usually appear 2 to 3 weeks after exposure to Listeria, but in rare cases can take as long as 70 days to develop. If you have the listed symptoms, contact your health care provider. Severe vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration (loss of fluids). To protect against dehydration, drink plenty of fluids.

Pregnant women are at increased risk for infection with Listeria, although they tend not to get severely ill. However, listeriosis in pregnancy can result in serious complications that include:

  • stillbirth
  • early delivery
  • infection in the newborn baby

Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, but early diagnosis is key, especially for individuals at high risk, such as pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

What the Government of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads the human health investigation into an outbreak and is in regular contact with its federal, provincial and territorial partners to monitor the situation and to collaborate on steps to address an outbreak.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine whether the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians as new information related to this investigation becomes available.


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