CMOH said there are ‘extremely high odds’ outbreak caused by meatloaf served at daycares
Meatloaf 'most likely' source of contamination of Calgary's E. coli outbreak, says CMOH
Dr. Mark Joffe, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, says the province tested 44 food items, and one meal in particular came out with extremely high odds of being the source of infection.
The City of Calgary said Wednesday it has laid charges against a shared kitchen — used by several daycares experiencing an E. coli outbreak — for operating without the proper licence.
Minutes after that announcement, Alberta's chief medical officer of health said investigators have narrowed down the source of the outbreak to one likely source.
This comes after an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli, which has resulted in 351 lab-confirmed cases and 37 secondary cases, Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Mark Joffe said.
During an investigation into the cause of the outbreak, Joffe said that investigators believe one meal has "extremely high odds" of being the source of the outbreak.
"Based on our investigation, we believe that meatloaf and vegan loaf meals that were served for lunch on Aug. 29 most likely contain the E. coli bacteria that led to these infections," he said.
"Unfortunately, neither of these items could be tested as they were either eaten or discarded before this outbreak was identified."
Joffe added that the investigation is still ongoing, and four children remain in hospital. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, a disease which affects the kidneys.
The city said it has laid charges against Fueling Minds, a catering company which provided food to a number of daycares in the city.
The corporation and its two directors have each been charged under the Business Licensing Bylaw for operating without a business licence — for a total of 12 charges.
If convicted, they could face a total fine amount of up to $120,000.
The city said business safety officers began investigating Fueling Minds once news broke of the E. coli outbreak. The company had been providing third-party food services to five Calgary childcare centres owned by other operators.
"This additional service was outside of the scope of Fueling Minds provincially-licensed daycare business and required a City of Calgary business licence. The city also received a complaint from a concerned member of the public via the city's 311 service," the city news release read.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said, in addition to the ongoing review of shared kitchens across the province, she has created an external review panel led by former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson.
She said that panel will look at whether policy changes are needed.
More to come…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jade Markus is a digital journalist at CBC Calgary.
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