Consumer Advisory - Salmonella in Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)

March 5, 2010: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) are closely following an investigation by U.S. authorities into possible Salmonella contamination of Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) in the United States.

HVP is used as a flavour enhancer in many commercially processed foods. These can include soups, hot dogs, sauces, and seasoned snack foods. Products sold in Canada that contain the affected HVP and pose a risk to consumers will be removed from the Canadian marketplace.

Here is what you should know about the investigation:

There have been no reports of any confirmed illnesses in Canada or the US linked to the food product containing this HVP. Public health officials are looking at previously reported cases of Salmonella to determine if there are any links.

The risks related to this contamination are considered to be very low. However, consumers should ensure they cook their food properly to avoid any risks of Salmonella. Some ready-to-eat foods, like chips or dip, may contain the affected HVP manufactured by Basic Food Flavors Inc., and these may represent a higher risk. Please consult CFIA's Website for the list of products that were recalled. Products that you would cook or heat after you buy them are unlikely to pose a risk as long as they are cooked according to the instructions on the package and handled properly.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating what products on the Canadian market may contain HVP manufactured by Basic Food Flavors Inc. A number of food recalls have already occurred.

What can you do as a consumer?

  • Be aware of the list of recalled products. You won't necessarily be able to tell from the ingredient list if HVP is in the food you buy. HVP may be listed as an ingredient if it was added directly to the food. However if the HVP was part of another ingredient it does not have to be listed. You can get a list of recalled products from the Government of Canada's food safety portal. If you have recalled products in your home, don't eat them.
  • Use proper safe food handling practices and carefully follow the cooking instructions as ready-to-cook food in your home could potentially contain the recalled ingredient. More information can be found on the food safety portal.

While all Canadians can get sick from bacteria like Salmonella, older adults, pregnant women and those with pre-existing medical conditions are more vulnerable to long-term complications from Salmonella. If you belong to one of these groups, it's particularly important to be aware of this advice.