The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections involving Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as recent illnesses continue to be reported.
Based on findings to date, exposure to eggs has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak. Many who became sick, consumed, prepared, cooked or baked with eggs at home. Some were exposed to eggs at work or institutions like hospitals or nursing homes.
Eggs can sometimes be contaminated with Salmonella on the shell and inside the egg. The bacteria is often transmitted to people when they improperly handle, eat or cook contaminated foods.
Illnesses can be prevented if proper safe food handing and cooking practices are followed.
Do not avoid consuming properly cooked eggs, but this outbreak serves as a reminder that Canadians should always handle raw eggs carefully and cook eggs and egg-based foods to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure they are safe to eat.
Between October and December 2020, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued food recall warnings for a variety of eggs distributed in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The recalled eggs are now past their shelf-life and are no longer available for purchase. Some individuals who became sick in this outbreak reported exposure to recalled eggs; however, there are a number of recent ill individuals that do not.
The CFIA is continuing its food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public.
It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between three and six weeks.