Health officials say eight confirmed death from listeriosis outbreak
The number of deaths in Canada being blamed on a nationwide outbreak of listeriosis is now eight.
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#1 Aug 28, 2008
Consumers Council of Canada, vice-president
said she doesn't believe the federal government when it says consumer safety is a top priority.
"If that's the case, how come (so many) people have died and we don't know how many more will be showing symptoms?" Friedland said.
"The ball fell through and consumer confidence is right down the tubes, with respect to government and companies like Maple Leaf. It's absolutely outrageous."
Friedland's comments came on a day that saw family and friends bid a final farewell to an eastern Ontario woman whose sudden death Monday is being blamed by family members on listeriosis...
#2 Aug 28, 2008
Frances Clark, 89, was remembered as being "full of fun" by her friend Shirley Sutton after some 60 people paid their respects at a funeral in the tiny town of Madoc, Ont., 40 kilometres north of Belleville.
Reports say prior to falling ill, Clark spent time in a hospital and a nursing home where recalled Maple Leaf meat products were being served. The family is still waiting to hear from medical officials whether Clark's case was part of the outbreak.
"I think that it should be investigated at the nursing home, but I think the plant in which all this has developed, it certainly should be checked into very, very thoroughly," said Sutton, 73.
Friedland called on the federal government to ramp up inspections and for municipal and provincial governments to bully Ottawa into paying attention to the matter, which she suspects will be a major election issue should Canada be headed for a fall election.
"It's affecting more and more people than you can possibly imagine," Friedland said, adding she has heard from many concerned citizens in the wake of the outbreak and recalls of Maple Leaf products.
"School lunches are going to have to be re-thought, hospitals, cafeteria - this is a major, major consumer issue."
Friedland said she also wants to know how the Maple Leaf plant in Toronto came to be contaminated with the Listeria bacterium in the first place, calling president and chief executive Michael McCain's claim that the source may never be determined "nonsense."
"They have to find out what caused this so that it can never happen again," Friedland said. "If they don't find out, how do I know that next month it's not going to happen again? Or with some other products? More care has to be put into how our food is prepared."
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