MONTREAL (CN) – A Listeria outbreak caused by sliced meat products has Canadians checking their refrigerators, and class action lawsuits across the country are demanding damages from Maple Leaf Foods. Maple Leaf recalled the products on Aug. 17, and “has repeatedly expanded the recall, so that currently there are several dozen meat products on the recall list,” according to the class action in Quebec Superior Court.
Named plaintiffs in Montreal, Juanita Melvin and Thomas Guay, a married couple, say they bought and ate Maple Leaf sliced turkey and ham between Aug. 10 and Aug. 16. Melvin suffered from nausea and diarrhea and Guay “lost his motor functions and had difficulty articulating his words,” according to the complaint.
Guay was hospitalized with fever and cold sweats.
Maple Leaf, the largest Canadian producer of food products, announced the recall on Aug. 17, in conjunction with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially lethal pathogen, was found in the Maple Leaf plant in Toronto.
The company’s Web site states that it has recalled “all” products made at the Toronto plant from January 2008.
“These meat products are sold in Canada under brand names including Artisan Collection, Burns, Compliments, Coorsch, Country Morning, Fleetwood, Foodservice, Hickory Farms, Hygrade, Maple Leaf, Mitchell’s, No Name, Overlander, Parms, Safeway, Schnieder’s, and Shopsy’s,” according to the Montreal class action.
Class-action suits have also been filed against Maple Leaf in Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan by class-action specialty law firm Merchant Law Group. The petitioners seek an unspecified amount in damages..