Categories: National News

Health Monitor

The list of consumer products potentially tainted by an additive believed contaminated with salmonella bacteria continues to grow.

On Monday the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) added two more products to a list already containing more than 75 products manufactured in Canada and scores more in the United States.

At issue is the potential contamination of hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) by salmonella bacteria. Added Monday was one flavour of Lay’s potato chips — Smokey Bacon — solid in 43 gram and 235 gram bags. The products have been distributed nationally.

Basic Food Flavors Inc. has voluntarily recalled the HVP powder and paste used in the listed products due to potential contamination. To date there have been no reported illnesses in Canada associated with the consumption of any of the foods recalled. A complete list is available at www.healthycanadians.gc.ca.

Food contaminated with salmonella might not appear or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, a food-borne illness. Young children, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems can experience serious and potentially deadly infection. Symptoms in healthy people include high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The recall is part of an ongoing food safety inspection and more details will be released as more products are recalled. Visit www.healthycanadians.gc.ca or call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342.

A positive test for Listeria monocytogenes has led to another series of recalls of meat products that have been distributed in three provinces, including Alberta.

In addition to the March 11 alert from the CFIA warning Canadians not to consume Prosciutto Cotto Cooked Ham, two styles of Siena brand meat have been added to the list. They include Siena brand Coppa sold in 300- to 400-gram packages bearing best before dates of June 21, 2010 or have no date and Siena brand Prosciuttini or Prosciuttini Hot sold in 300- to 400-gram packages bearing best before dates of June 20, June 21 and June 22, 2010.

The original March 11 warning advised that the Cooked Ham was sold to delis and grocery stores in wholesale packages for slicing and had a best before date ranging from March 8 to 22, 2010. Any of the ham sold after Jan. 11 is affected by the recall. As original brand and best before dates might not have been transferred to consumer packaging, the CFIA is asking anyone who purchased this product to check with their vendor to determine whether or not it is a part of the recall.

The Siena brand products have been sold in Alberta and Ontario, while the Prosciutto Cotto Cooked Ham has also been sold in Quebec. Several reports of listeriosis have come out of Ontario but public health officials have not been able to determine whether or not the illnesses are related to the recall.

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with this bacteria may cause listeriosis, a food-borne illness. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness, however, infections during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

Check www.healthycanadians.gc.ca for more updates or call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342.

Both the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada are warning parents of infants about the dangers of using infant slings and soft infant carriers.

Since 1995, there have been two reported deaths in soft infant carriers reported to Health Canada, and 14 suffocation deaths in the United States from sling-style infant carriers.

The hazards of using either product include the baby falling from either the sling or carrier if the caregiver trips; the product malfunctioning or breaking; the baby slipping and falling over the side or through the leg openings and the baby suffocating as a result of improper positioning.

In order to reduce the chance of death or injury, individuals should always check on their baby when using either product and make sure the infant’s airway is unobstructed. When using slings, the baby’s head should be positioned above the sling and the face should always be visible. Caregivers are also advised not to zip their jackets around a baby in either product to keep them warm. As infants can lose consciousness in as little as one minute, Health Canada states that using both products correctly is critically important.

For more information, visit www.hc-sc.gc.ca or call 1-866-662-0666.

Some 70 per cent of hockey players at the professional and college level have abnormal hip and pelvis alignments despite displaying no symptoms, according to a new study. The injuries were only discovered through the use of MRIs.

Presented at the American Orthpaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Specialty Day, researchers warned surgeons not to depend excessively on imaging when diagnosing patients. “Unexpectedly, the majority of players had some abnormality in their MRI, but it didn’t limit their playing ability,” said study author Matthew Silvis.

Twenty-one professional and 18 collegiate hockey players aged 18 to 35 had MRIs taken of their pelvic area. Only two reported any pain, which they perceived as mild. The results showed that 54 per cent of participants had labral tears, 31 per cent had muscle strains in the hips and five percent had inflammation of the hips. In total, 70 per cent had irregular findings but no symptoms.

Milvis called for surgeons to use their clinical judgment instead of depending heavily on imaging. “A surgeon may see something in the image, but it isn’t causing a problem.”

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