Vacationers warned of botulism threat

Possible botulism contamination has forced the recall of Wal-Mart’s house brand Great Value chili.

Possible botulism contamination has forced the recall of Wal-Mart’s house brand Great Value chili.

Sunday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency sent a memo to regional health boards advising that Wal-Mart’s chili has been recalled, said Yukon government spokesman Dennis Senger.

“We’re not saying that the cans that are actually here in the Yukon are contaminated, but who knows, they might be,” he said.

Cans of the affected chili were removed from Wal-Mart’s shelves Monday, he said.

“Our concern is people who may have purchased the product from Sunday backwards.”

The cans of Great Value Original Chili with Beans and Great Value Hot Chili with Beans, sold in Canada exclusively at Wal-Mart stores, were processed in the Georgia-based plant to which US Food and Drug Administration officials traced the botulism outbreak.

Four Americans were hospitalized earlier this month after eating tainted Castleberry brand hot dog chili sauce.

Botulism is a potentially fatal illness caused by the same bacteria-produced nerve toxin used in cosmetic face-freezing Botox injections.

Botulism can cause slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, blurry vision and progressive muscle weakness that begins in the shoulders and moves down the body.

Botulism becomes fatal when the muscles controlling respiration are paralyzed.

Symptoms can begin six hours after eating tainted foods, or up to two weeks later.

The original recall list issued by the US Food and Drug Administration on July 18 listed only 10 Castleberry products, with “best by” dates of April 30, 2009, through May 22, 2009.

The recall was expanded on Saturday to include all “best by” dates of 92 canned products, including four varieties of Natural Balance’s pet food, called Eatables for Dogs.

“The disease has only been seen occasionally in dogs and has not been reported in cats,” the US Food and Drug Administration’s bulletin states.

Canada’s Public Health Service Agency’s most recent botulism advisory was issued June 8 for a small lot of canned clams and cod liver in Quebec.

In 1995, four unrelated outbreaks hit a total of nine residents of communities around Ungava Bay in Quebec’s northern region of Nunavik.

“Most food-borne outbreaks in Canada are due to home-prepared foods, especially fermented Inuit foods, and improperly stored meat of marine origin; however, some involve commercially prepared foods,” stated a 1996 online article from Canada’s Botulism Reference Service.

Yukon’s Health Services is hoping to reach tourists who may not yet have heard of the massive US recall.

“You have travellers who are coming through, either coming back from Alaska, going to Alaska, going to the Yukon, going to Inuvik, who may have picked up this product on the way or may have purchased it here in Whitehorse,” said Senger.

Yukoners may have also purchased the cans of chili for their cabins.

 “We don’t normally issue food alerts because they can be widespread and a lot of them don’t even apply to here,” said Senger.

A recent example was the E-coli tainted beef, he said.

In the case of the chili, the recall affected a product that was definitely being sold in the Yukon.

Yukoners and travellers who might have purchased canned chili in the US can consult the full recall list on Castleberry’s website.

If you have a recalled product, you are advised to return it to the store for a refund or dispose of it carefully.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. At its April 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a zoning change to allow a drive-thru at 107 Range Road. Developers sought the change to build a Dairy Queen there. (Submitted)
Drive-thru approved by Whitehorse city council at 107 Range Road

Rezoning could pave the way for a Dairy Queen


Wyatt’s World for April 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Joel Krahn/ Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

Most Read