Two people in Canada have died following a bacterial infection tentatively traced to tainted products from a Toronto meat-packing plant.
Health officials have linked the deaths of two elderly women in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo to listeriosis.
Food safety inspectors have found a possible connection between 17 confirmed cases and about two dozen Maple Leaf Foods products from a West Toronto plant that has closed for a thorough sanitizing.
More than a million packages of Maple Leaf and Schneiders prepared meat are being recalled, including roast beef, turkey, ham, smoked meat and deli products shipped since June to grocery stores, restaurants, nursing homes, schools and institutions.
The disease is a particular threat to the infirm, elderly and pregnant women. It can cause fever, headache, neck stiffness and nausea, from a few days to months after contact.
Cases under investigation include 13 confirmed and 17 suspected in Ontario, said medical officer Dr. David Williams. There are also cases in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Quebec.
3 troops killed in Afghan bombing
It has been another difficult week for the Canadian military in Afghanistan with the death of three soldiers.
Shawn Eades, Stephan Stock and Dustin Wasden were killed by a roadside bomb in the Zhari district. This pushed Canada's death toll to 93 in the Afghan mission.
They were combat engineers with 12 Field Squadron from Edmonton and attached to the Second Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group.
The latest incident happened in the same region where a U.S. convoy was attacked and two Marines were killed and two seriously wounded in April.
News in brief
• Authorities have closed all locations of Sunrise Propane in Toronto after a blast Aug. 10 led to two deaths and forced 12,000 people from their homes. An investigation shows an illegal truck-to-truck transfer of propane had taken place just before the explosion. An inspection of 150 propane sites across Ontario resulted in other businesses being closed over safety concerns.
• British Columbia Ombudsman Kim Carter has launched a sweeping investigation of seniors' health care after receiving numerous complaints. Concerns include neglect in nursing-care facilities, spouses being separated and the closing of facilities. The inquiry will review how seniors access services, standards of care in facilities and how standards are monitored and enforced.
Facts and figures
Acceptable inflation numbers and higher oil prices pushed Canada's dollar higher to 95.66 cents U.S. Friday, while the U.S. greenback returned $1.0454 Canadian, before bank exchanges fees.
The annual inflation core rate, which excludes "volatile items" such as energy, rose 1.5 percent in June, but the overall increase was 3.1 percent.
The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 3 percent, while the prime lending rate is 4.75 percent. Canadian stock markets advanced, with the Toronto composite index at 13,447 points at the TSX Venture index lower at 1,942 points.
Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 3, 6, 9, 27, 28, 36; bonus 45. (Aug. 16) 12, 16, 19, 32, 42, 49; bonus 3. Super 7: (Aug. 15) 2, 8, 21, 22, 33, 37, 40; bonus 11.
• Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald is opposing the carbon tax plan proposed by the federal Liberals, saying it would hurt his Atlantic province. Fossil fuels produce 90 percent of the electricity there and account for 60 percent of home heating. "This so-called solution for the environment is no solution at all for Nova Scotia," MacDonald said.
• A cross-Canada cleanup of shorelines has determined that cigarette butts are the top polluter. Eric Solomon of the Vancouver Aquarium said more than 270,000 butts were collected during the annual TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. That's far ahead of food wrappers. It can take five to 15 years for cigarette filters to break down, and many birds, fish and marine mammals die after eating them.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com.