Health Canada has issued a Public Health Notice on the Outbreak of Salmonella infections related to sprouted chia seed powder

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Vancouver: There are now 34 cases in four provinces (BC, AB, ON, QC) involved in this investigation and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has updated the food recall warning to include additional information for sprouted chia seed products.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with Provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Health Canada to investigate 34 Canadian cases of Salmonella infection linked to the consumption of sprouted chia seed powder.  Sprouted chia seed powder is made from ground, dried sprouted chia seeds.

As a part of this investigation, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued food recall warnings for various products containing sprouted chia seeds and sprouted chia seed powder under the brands Organic Traditions, Back 2 the Garden, Intuitive Path SuperFoods, Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary,  Naturallyorganic, and Pete’s Gluten Free. These products have been recalled and are being removed from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Ongoing Investigation

In Canada, two strains of Salmonella have been associated with this outbreak: Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Hartford. In total, 34 cases have been reported in British Columbia (6), Alberta (4), Ontario (22) and Quebec (2). Five cases have been hospitalized; four cases have been discharged and have recovered or are recovering. The status of one case was not provided to the Agency. No deaths have been reported. The investigation is ongoing but currently, 19 of 19 cases that have been interviewed have reported consumption of chia seeds or sprouted chia seed powder, and 16 of 19 cases specifically report sprouted chia seed powder.   The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are also investigating similar cases of Salmonella, and have recalled sprouted chia seed powder products linked to their investigation.

Anyone can become sick from salmonellosis, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are less robust.

Most people who become ill from salmonellosis will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show any symptoms, but still be able to spread the infection to others.

Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. If you suspect you became ill from eating a recalled product, or another sprouted chia seed product, talk to your health care provider.

Symptoms                          

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to a contaminated product. Symptoms include:

•        Diarrhea

•        Fever

•        Abdominal cramps

•        Nausea

•        Vomiting

•        Chills

•        Headache

These symptoms usually last four to seven days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment. People who experience severe symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care providers if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.