Canada inspecting shipments of peppers from Mexico

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In keeping with the Government’s commitment to food safety, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is taking precautionary actions to prevent the implicated source of the Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak in the United States (U.S.) from entering Canada.

Specifically, shipments of jalape?o and Serrano peppers from Mexico are being held by the CFIA pending laboratory results. Shipments found to be contaminated will not be allowed in the marketplace. The CFIA and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) will continue to monitor the situation closely.

This action is based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recent advice to Americans to avoid eating raw jalape?o and raw Serrano peppers, and any foods that contain them, if they have been grown, harvested or packed in Mexico. These peppers have been associated with the current outbreak in many states. However, commercially canned, pickled, and cooked jalape?o and Serrano peppers are not associated with the current Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak. Jalape?o and Serrano peppers grown in Canada and the U.S. have not been connected with the current Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. has found that many, but not all of the people who have become ill during the outbreak also reported eating jalape?o or Serrano peppers. The FDA and the CDC continue to update their respective websites to provide ongoing information about their investigation. Canadians travelling to the United States should be aware of U.S. advice to consumers regarding jalape?o and Serrano peppers.

The current situation in Canada remains unchanged from previous Government of Canada advisories issued on this topic. Public health officials are reporting five cases of Salmonella Saintpaul infection in Canada with the same strain of Salmonella infection associated with the outbreak in the United States. Four of the cases involve individuals who became ill upon return from travel to the U.S., suggesting they were infected during their trip. Cross border cases are expected given the size of the outbreak in the U.S., and the fact that many Canadians travel to the U.S. Officials with PHAC will continue to work with their colleagues in Canada and the U.S. to monitor the situation and assess further cases.

Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canada

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