CANADA: Maple Leaf recalls nine varieties of hot dogs
Globe and Mail
Canadian retailers pulled several brands of wieners off store shelves
yesterday, and consumers were warned not to eat them, after Maple Leaf
Foods said they may be contaminated with small amounts of listeria
The nationwide recall comes about one year after the start of the
company's listeriosis crisis, which was linked to the deaths of 22
Canadians and subject to an investigation commissioned by the federal
The affected products, which include nine varieties of Shopsy's, Hygrade
and Maple Leaf brand wieners, were recalled after company testing
revealed some samples tested positive for listeria. The bacteria were
detected through a second, more aggressive test, after some product
samples passed a primary food safety test and were sent to stores, said
Randall Huffman, chief food safety officer at Maple Leaf Foods.
Although the levels were low, the company decided to err on the side of
caution and launch a recall, Dr. Huffman said.
The company said small amounts of listeria are commonly found in the
environment and are often detected in meat and poultry products - and in
ready-to-eat products in particular. Maple Leaf said it follows the
federal government's new listeria policy and has stepped up its testing
and inspection measures, which means it will likely detect the bacteria
"There's no such thing as 100-per-cent safe foods, no matter what food
we eat," said Mansel Griffiths, professor in the food science department
at the University of Guelph and director of the Canadian Research
Institute for Food Safety. He was also a member of the expert advisory
group of the federal listeriosis investigation.
Most people can tolerate low levels of listeria, and other types of
bacteria, without falling ill, Prof. Griffiths said. He recommends that
people who are pregnant, elderly or have weak immune systems are more at
risk, and should avoid consuming ready-to-eat meats.
Dr. Huffman of Maple Leaf says those groups can consume the products,
but must exercise caution.
But there are ways consumers can protect themselves when eating
ready-to-eat meat and other products, according to Rick Holley,
professor of food microbiology and food safety at the University of
Some people eat prepared meats, and even hot dogs, right out of the
package. But doing so can result in a serious food-borne illness, he
said: People should thoroughly cook hot dogs.
The Public Health Agency of Canada also says that people who are
concerned can reheat deli meats until they are steaming hot.
The idea of killing bacteria through cooking applies to other types of
food-borne pathogens as well, such as E. coli, which is often associated
with uncooked hamburger meat. While children aren't particularly
vulnerable to listeria, they can be susceptible to E. coli, Prof. Holley