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Tesla Will Recall 134,000+ Vehicles Affected by Inevitable eMMC Failure

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Tesla will recall every Model S and Model X vehicle that shipped with an 8GB eMMC NAND flash chip. Affected vehicles were produced between 2012-2018 (Model S) and 2016-2018 (Model X). Those produced after 2018 are configured with additional storage capacity and will not fail in the same fashion.

Any Model S or Model X with an 8GB Media Control Unit (MCU) will eventually fail, as we covered last month. This is not an issue that only affects certain vehicles. NAND flash is only rated for a fixed number of write cycles, which is to say, new data can only be written to the same physical sector of NAND a finite number of times. Tesla, unfortunately, shipped a number of vehicles with very aggressive data logging. It has since reduced some of these practices, but the amount of data the vehicle logs and transmits will inevitably wear out the NAND flash of any affected Model S or X.

When that NAND flash fails, so does the Media Control Unit. The driver loses access to climate controls and the backup camera. According to the NHTSA, the MCU’s failure affects the “rearview camera display, defrost /defog control settings, and exterior turn signal lighting.”

The Tesla Model S cockpit, with an MCU1-powered LCD.

Tesla told the NHTSA that these failures don’t constitute a safety risk. The NHTSA letter states: “We note that your report states that Tesla believes that this matter does not have a safety risk. In our view, this statement has no force or effect in terms of Tesla’s obligation to undertake and complete the recall, and NHTSA does not agree with it.”

ET agrees with the NHTSA. Tesla’s innovations and willingness to approach car manufacturing differently is praiseworthy, but Tesla should have known that an 8GB eMMC unit wasn’t going to stand up to constant logging for years on end. Most vehicles don’t log nearly as much information as Tesla does and an 8GB NAND flash chip simply wasn’t going to cut it.

The number of vehicles being recalled is down slightly from the 159K figure being quoted in January. Still, the recall affects 134,951 cars. If you own one of them, you’d best get in touch with the company. The recall statement promises that Tesla will “replace the VCM daughterboard with one containing an enhanced eMMC controller, free of charge.” That language is ambiguous enough that Tesla could just swap the older MCU1 units with MCU2. Alternately, it could equip existing Tegra 3 boards with more storage. The Tegra 3 SoC was capable of addressing at least 64GB of eMMC memory. Microsoft’s Surface RT was sold in this configuration. Tesla may have outfitted its boards with 8GB, but it ought to be able to upgrade them.

Tesla’s recall will kick off on March 30. Vehicle owners will be notified by mail. Owners may also contact Tesla at 1-877-798-3752. The number for the recall is SB-21-21-001.

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Tesla Ordered to Recall 150K+ Vehicles to Repair Memory Failures

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Tesla has been ordered to recall roughly 159,000 vehicles to fix a problem in the Media Control Unit. News broke several months ago that over 12,000 Tesla vehicles had suffered a significant NAND flash failure that killed the vehicle’s touch screen. Many vehicle controls in a Tesla are accessed via touch screen, and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) began an investigation after over 500 complaints were filed about the issue.

There are several interlocking reasons for the problem. Tesla’s onboard MCU initially contained just 8GB of NAND Flash. Tesla writes extensively to the NAND flash for data logging (problem #1), which winds up depleting the 3,000 program/erase cycles the onboard NAND flash is capable of. Once its onboard NAND fails, the touch screen stops working, freezing the end-user out of climate controls and from using the rear backup camera. It also is said to impact “audible chimes related to ADAS, Autopilot, and turn signals.”

Image by InsideEVs. The affected eMMC chip is indicated by the red arrow.

Tesla shipped this iteration of its MCU in ~159,000 vehicles, including 2012-2018 versions of the Model S and 2016-2018 versions of the Model X. The current failure rate at the time of the initial investigation was as high as 30 percent in certain build months, and failure rates accelerate after 3-4 years in service. In the summer of 2020, Tesla introduced an MCU with a 64GB eMMC chip instead of 8GB, which should alleviate the problem. The issue with older vehicles, however, remains unresolved. Typically, the NHTSA doesn’t formally demand a recall, because a manufacturer voluntarily provides one. Tesla has already acknowledged that 100 percent of vehicles with this issue will eventually fail and the NHTSA report, discussed by Reuters, indicates that nine other automakers have previously performed voluntary recalls to resolve issues like this.

The NHTSA report states: “Tesla has implemented several over-the-air updates in an attempt to mitigate some of the issues … but tentatively believes these updates are procedurally and substantively insufficient.” It noted that under the law, “vehicle manufacturers are required to conduct recalls to remedy safety-related defects.”

One of the major complaints about how Tesla is handling this situation is that the company is forcing end-users to pay for a problem it should have resolved years ago. Tesla fired its entire PR office last year, so there’s no one we can contact to get an opinion on the topic. As of this writing, no comments have been made via Twitter on how the company plans to respond to the recall “request,” but if Tesla wants to fight it, it’ll have to provide its full reasoning and justification for why the failure doesn’t constitute a safety risk to the vehicle or driver.

Tesla appears to be the only company currently suffering from this exact logging problem, which probably speaks to the wisdom of logging such exhaustive amounts of information to consumer eMMC in the first place with no long-term plan for what to do when the NAND flash failed. There’s no excuse for selling a vehicle knowing its NAND flash will begin to fail in 3-4 years with no plan for how to deal with that beyond, “Charge the customer for a replacement if it happens out of warranty.”

This issue only affects earlier Tesla models. If you bought one in the last year or two, you may not be affected. Vehicles equipped with Intel hardware don’t seem to have the same problem as earlier Tegra 3-based designs, though again — the issue here is the small amount of NAND, not the fact that the entertainment system was made by Intel or Nvidia.

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Canada faces shortage of heartburn drug Pepcid after Zantac recall

The common heartburn medication Pepcid is in short supply across Canada, and experts say it’s a direct result of the recent international recall of Zantac. 

Zantac, or ranitidine, was recalled in the U.S. and Canada in October after a potentially cancer-causing chemical was found at low levels in the drug.

Now CBC News has learned that Pepcid, also known as famotidine, a possible replacement for Zantac, is facing shortages that could last several months.

Barry Power, a spokesperson for the Canadian Pharmacists Association, said it’s what’s known as a domino shortage — where an unavailable drug causes a shortfall in a similar medication after demand skyrockets. 

“I think that the manufacturer has just tapped out all the reserves and it’s all a result of the ranitidine recall that we saw in the fall.”

He said the generic versions of famotidine, an over-the-counter drug, are also affected. 

“I would expect that if they aren’t currently in short supply, they will be soon.” 

Power says he has spoken with pharmacists across the country who have been told the medication is on backorder until March.

Several versions of the drug have faced shortages since October, while others have been discontinued altogether, according to Drug Shortages Canada, a third-party website put in place by Health Canada in 2017 for pharmaceutical companies to report shortfalls.

‘Not at all surprising’

Almost a quarter of Canadians experience heartburn on a daily basis, according to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research, a non-profit organization that funds research and seeks to increase public awareness about gastrointestinal diseases and disorders.

“A lot of us have experienced heartburn, and especially if you’re getting it chronically, the discomfort of it and how it affects your sleep can be pretty serious,” said Mina Tadrous, a pharmacist and pharmacy researcher at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. 

“These are drugs that are really important to the treatment of gastric disorders.” 

These types of domino shortages are not at all surprising, said Dr. Jacalyn Duffin, a medical historian and drug shortages expert at Queen’s University.

“They have occurred multiple times in the recent past, especially when a popular drug, or the more popular drug, suddenly disappears for one reason or another,” she said. 

“Then there’s pressure on the replacement to be used … and companies just can’t foresee that kind of increase, so they will run out of stock.”

She said Pepcid may not get as much attention as recent high-profile shortages of life-saving drugs such as EpiPens or the childhood leukemia drug vincristine, but it can make a huge difference in the quality of life of patients.

While drugs like Pepcid can be beneficial for the treatment of gastric disorders, research shows they can be harmful if used over long periods of time.  (CBC)

Power said the shortage wasn’t entirely unexpected to the Canadian Pharmacists Association, but the organization was hoping the Zantac recall would be short lived. 

“I think the best thing to do would be to check with your pharmacist, work with them, work with your physician or nurse practitioner and figure out an alternate that works,” he said.

“Some people will be able to go to some non-prescription products like Tums or Gaviscon, and some people won’t. It’s going to take a little bit of finagling and figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t work for you.”

‘Silver lining’

Tadrous said that while drugs like ranitidine and famotidine can be beneficial for the treatment of gastric disorders, research shows they can be harmful if used over long periods of time. 

“Chronic acid suppression is not really a great thing for everybody and it may actually be associated with some risks,” he said. 

“So there’s some silver lining to all of this … it might actually be a great opportunity to discuss if you should still continue to be taking it.” 

Tadrous said famotidine helps to reduce acid in the stomach, which is different from other treatments like Tums, Rolaids, or Gaviscon that work after the onset of heartburn or acid reflux. 

The only good news, he said, is that pharmacists don’t anticipate the famotidine shortage will be long-term. 

“But again, it highlights the fact that when drug shortages do occur, they’re not just for the drug itself, but they can have a rippling effect across the system,” he said.

“This is a really important issue that continues being monitored and we need a system that reacts a little bit better to these.”

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Couple Who Got Pic Taken by Meghan Markle Recall How She and Prince Harry Were ‘So Down to Earth’ (Exclusive)

Couple Who Got Pic Taken by Meghan Markle Recall How She and Prince Harry Were ‘So Down to Earth’ (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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CFIA cancels licences of 3 companies in massive meat recall

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it has cancelled the licenses of three companies tied to a massive meat recall that ensnared nearly 900 beef and veal products.

The CFIA says in a statement it cancelled the Safe Food for Canadians licenses of Ryding-Regency Meat Packers Ltd, as well as two others operating under St. Ann’s Foods Inc.: Canadian Select Meats Inc. and The Beef Boutique Ltd.

The agency says these companies are no longer able to slaughter food animals or prepare meat products, including to export or send to other provinces or territories.

The CFIA says it made the decision after an investigation identified the licence holders provided false or misleading information to the agency about E. coli lab results.

The agency launched the investigation in September to look into possible E. coli contamination of some beef and veal products sold by the companies.

A spokesman for Ryding-Regency did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while the publicly listed number for St. Ann’s was not in service.

The CFIA previously suspended the licenses for all three holders in September while it conducted its investigation.

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ER visits jumped after valsartan blood pressure medication recall, study says

A large recall of contaminated medications appeared to spark confusion among many hypertension patients who were forced to give up the drug last year, with many turning to hospital emergency departments for medical help, a new study says. 

The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (IC/ES) says emergency department visits jumped 55 per cent among those affected by a Health Canada recall of some valsartan products. The institute’s findings were published in the journal Circulation.

Lead author Cynthia Jackevicius said that while the number of people who went to emergency was relatively small at just 0.17 per cent of affected patients, the increase was still significant.

The medications were taken off the market in July 2018 after they were found to contain an impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a potential carcinogen that can cause cancer with long-term exposure.

Drugs containing valsartan are used to treat high blood pressure and help prevent heart attacks and stroke. They are also used by patients who have had heart failure or a recent heart attack.

Researchers examined the impact on 55,461 affected patients and found that 10.7 per cent did not replace their medication within the three months that followed. Of those studied, 95 per cent had hypertension, while five per cent had heart failure. The average age was 76.

It wasn’t clear whether the emergency patients were among the 10 per cent who failed to replace their medication, or whether they went to hospital to get a new prescription, or lost control of their hypertension.

Media ‘may have heightened the alarm’

Jackevicius said the data suggests the need for better co-ordination between Health Canada, prescribers and pharmacists when a recall is announced.

“While government agencies issued advisories to continue taking medications until contacting their prescribers, there is a high potential for misunderstanding by patients, particularly given the mass media news that may have heightened the alarm regarding the potential negative consequences,” said the report.

“Patients may have been willing to risk the short-term potential of uncontrolled hypertension to avoid ingesting a potential carcinogen.”

Before the recall, emergency room visits by the group studied averaged 0.11 per cent per month. In the month following the recall, the rate jumped to 0.17 per cent.

Researchers also found a delayed six per cent spike in emergency department visits for stroke patients taking valsartan, as well as an eight per cent jump in hospitalizations — but most of that jump did not appear until November of last year. 

Health Canada announced a voluntary recall of six generic valsartan products in July 2018 due to NDMA.

At the time, the Canadian Pharmacists Association told affected patients they should not stop taking their medication without consulting their health-care provider. Health Canada conveyed a similar message, urging patients to check with their health-care provider to see if their particular medication was affected.  

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What to do during the recall of prescription Zantac and other heartburn medications

If you take prescription Zantac or other heartburn medications that are part of the worldwide recall announced Tuesday, what are your options? Here are some answers for Canadian consumers.

The heartburn medications in the recall all contain the ingredient ranitidine. It’s an acid reducer to lessen the frequency and severity of heartburn. It’s also used to treat stomach ulcers.

Health Canada lists 12 affected products that are manufactured with ranitidine and have been voluntarily recalled. 

The reason regulators have flagged some ranitidine products is because of an impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

The European Medicines Agency said NDMA is considered a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) based on animal studies. NDMA is also an environmental contaminant found in water and food including meat, dairy products and vegetables, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Barry Power, senior director of digital content at the Canadian Pharmacists Association, said the impurity was found in a manufacturing plant used to make prescription versions of the products.

Over-the-counter versions that consumers grab off store shelves themselves are not included.

What to do

“If [consumers] did not get a prescription vial dispensed by a pharmacist, they do not have to do anything because those products in Canada are not affected. If they did receive prescription-strength ranitidine — Zantac is one of the brand names — they should contact their pharmacy,” Power said.

Health Canada said people should not stop taking prescribed ranitidine before speaking to their health-care provider because the risk of not treating the condition could be greater than the cancer risk associated with exposure to the NDMA impurity.

What are the alternatives?

Dr. Emily McDonald, an assistant professor of medicine at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, said for people with mild symptoms of heartburn, certain lifestyle changes are advised:

  • Avoid caffeine, chocolate, alcohol and mint.
  • Elevate the head of the bed to sleep.
  • Avoid meals before bedtime.

Over-the-counter calcium antacids, such as Tums, relieve short-acting heartburn.

Canadians may also be prescribed ranitidine to reduce stomach acid for the treatment and prevention of various conditions, such as heartburn, ulcers of the stomach and intestines, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (commonly known as GERD).

In those cases, Famotidine (brand name Pepcid) or another class of medication that achieves the same effect on stomach acids are other options.

Power said some pharmacists are reporting short supplies and are doing their best to provide alternatives.

What’s the risk?

The impurity was found in the manufacturing process recently, Power said.

“It’s probably relatively low risk in terms of causing long-term problems for people,” he said.

Australia’s regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), said the additional risk posed by NDMA from ranitidine, at the levels identified to date, is considered to be very low.

“However, such contamination is considered unacceptable for a medicine. The actual health risks depend on dose and will vary from person to person. The risks from short-term use of ranitidine are expected to be extremely low,” TGA said. 

Similarly, the FDA said although it has detected NDMA in limited ranitidine samples at low levels, “these levels still exceed what it considers acceptable for these products.”

What are regulators doing?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said a testing method used by a third-party laboratory used higher temperatures and detected higher levels of NDMA from ranitidine products than its own lower temperature method.

A spokesperson for the FDA said Thursday they’re “thoroughly investigating levels of NDMA in ranitidine, the source of NDMA and any possible risk to patients.”

Health Canada has publicized voluntary recalls by generic companies selling ranitidine-containing medications and said it continues to gather and share information with other regulators and Canadian companies to better understand the issue, including conducting its own tests and informing the public of new safety information.

Regulators in Britain, the European Union and Hong Kong have also issued alerts or recalls.

Has NDMA come up in medications before?


Since 2018, Health Canada, other regulators and researchers have worked to address NDMA and similar impurities found in certain “sartan” angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) blood pressure medications.

Why is this occurring?

Power said the ranitidine and ARB issues point to the fragility of drug supply in Canada and worldwide.

“The lack of redundancy in the manufacturing and distribution processes are causing problems for patients who need these medications,” Power said.

Since there are so many vulnerable points along the manufacturing and supply chains, there’s no one simple solution.

“It’s something that governments collectively can do worldwide with manufacturers.”

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Worldwide recall of Biocell breast implant

A brand of breast implant that has been barred from sale in Canada is now also being pulled worldwide, following an international investigation that included CBC News, Radio-Canada, the Toronto Star and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Breast implant maker Allergan Inc. issued a global recall Wednesday for its Biocell textured implants and tissue expanders after regulators, including Health Canada, alerted the company to a heightened cancer risk associated with them.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it called for the removal in the U.S. after new information showed Allergan’s breast implants with a textured surface were tied to the vast majority of cases of a rare form of lymphoma. The move follows similar action in France, Australia and Canada.

Both Health Canada and the FDA don’t recommend that women with the implants have them removed because the cancer is so rare, but say they should check with their doctor if they have symptoms, which include pain and swelling.

When Health Canada banned the implants in this country in May, the department said it had been notified of 26 confirmed cases of breast-implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) in Canada, of which 22 (85 per cent) involve Biocell implants.

The FDA updated the total number of implant-related BIA-ALCL cases globally to 573, and 33 patient deaths, which the agency said “reflect a significant increase in known cases of BIA-ALCL since the agency’s last update earlier this year.”

Health authorities first linked breast implants to cancer in 2011. The disease is not breast cancer but lymphoma that grows in the scar tissue surrounding the breasts. It grows slowly and can usually be successfully treated by surgically removing the implants.

Last September, Vancouver-based plastic surgeon Dr. Nick Carr and his team published a study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery suggesting that after about five to 10 years, women started to experience tearing, bleeding and inflammation that could also be part of the genesis of BIA-ALCL.

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'For me, it was like dying': Deaf Italians recall clergy abuse as Pope's landmark summit gets underway

Alessandro Vantini uses crude gestures to illustrate the way three priests abused him throughout his entire childhood at a school for deaf boys in the northern Italian city of Verona.

He said one clergyman regularly hit him with a stick and sodomized him. "For me, it was like dying," he said through an interpreter.

He said he yelled but "no one could hear me because everyone around was deaf."

At least dozens of boys who attended Verona's Antonio Provolo Institute are believed to have suffered similarly horrific experiences. Between the 1950s and 1980s, staff at the Catholic Church-run school physically and sexually abused deaf students entrusted in their care. The scandal only came to light decades later.

Vantini attended the school from age six to 18. Now 68, He has lived with the horrific memories for decades. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

That the Provolo scandal is considered by some observers to be the biggest known case in Italy's history underscores the size of the task facing Pope Francis as he convenes senior Catholic clerics for an unprecedented global summit.

The meeting, which gets underway Thursday at the Vatican, is aimed at preventing the future abuse of minors after decades of widespread sexual abuse by clergy and its systematic coverup has undermined the faith of many of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

Vantini is one of about 25 abuse survivors and their supporters making the 500-kilometre train journey from Verona to Rome to demand a monetary settlement for historical abuse suffered at the Provolo Institute.

"I'm fed up with this story," said Vantini, 68. "I want compensation." He said he has lost faith in the Church and no longer prays.

'I believed them'

The Provolo scandal has put a stain on a Unesco World Heritage city famously known for its medieval architecture and as the setting for two of Shakespeare's plays.

The Provolo scandal was first reported in Italy's L'Espresso news magazine in 2009. Under the headline "We, the victims of pedophile priests," the article revealed 67 people had signed a document alleging historical abuse at the institute.

Verona's Antonio Provolo Institute made national headlines 10 years ago, when allegations of sexual abuse committed by priests against deaf boys first surfaced publicly. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

The writer, Paolo Tessadri, said he was "stunned."

"But when I looked them in the eyes and heard their words, I believed them," he said in a recent interview.

Some 400 local deaf people now regularly congregate at the Provolo Association, a community centre of sorts across town from the site where the school for the deaf used to operate. The interior is decorated with skulls, dolls resembling unborn fetuses and newspaper clippings about clerical abuse — a striking symbol of the level of anger still felt here toward the Catholic Church.

Not all members of the association attended the school, but everyone is aware of the horrors that occurred there.

"Physical violence, oral sex, sodomization and everything in between," Provolo Association president Giorgio Della Bernardina explained bluntly. He says he didn't personally experience sexual abuse at the institute but regularly suffered physical assaults by clergymen.

And misconduct extended beyond the boys' school. Girls who attended another institution two doors down — separated only by a church — complained of secretive abuse, as well.

Alda Franchetto went to the girls' school for the deaf just doors down from the Antonio Provolo Institute. She described being molested by a priest just before her first communion. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

Sitting at the Provolo Association with her husband, Alda Franchetto recalled being groped by a priest at the church every week while he masturbated. Franchetto, 67, is also deaf.

"The nuns knew exactly what was going on, but they didn't say anything," she said.

'We haven't had justice'

On a recent visit to the community centre, a table in the middle of the room was covered with handmade signs bearing angry messages calling Provolo staff "devils," along with mock Catholic cleric-style headwear marked "Pedophile priests out of the church." Campaigners intend to carry the props as they demonstrate at the Vatican this week.

"We asked for a lot of years for justice, but we haven't had justice," said Marco Lodi Rizzini, a spokesperson for the Provolo Association.

A protest sign on a table at the Provolo Association is titled 'Priests and lay people involved,' with those marked in red 'still alive.' (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

In 2010, the Vatican ordered an investigation into the abuse in Verona, assigning Monsignor Giampietro Mazzoni, the president of the local ecclesiastical tribunal, to head up an inquiry. He, in turned, assigned a civil magistrate — not a clergyman — to look into the claims of abuse.

Seventeen victims came forward for the investigation, Mazzoni said. Only two living clergymen were found guilty in the sexual abuse investigation. Don Eligio Piccoli, 84, was sentenced to "a life of prayer and penance." Lino Gugole, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, "was not in fit state to be punished," Mazzoni said.

"We have to be clear and honest about everything that goes on like this," he said in an interview from his office in Verona. "We've seen what results come from the methods of the past, which entailed sweeping the dust under the carpet."

Pope Francis has attempted to tamp down expectations for his four-day summit at the Vatican, recently saying "the problem of abuse will continue." But survivors in Verona still hope it will somehow carve a path toward the closure that's been elusive for them.

"I hope it's the beginning [of] another era, but we don't know," said Rizzini. "Wait and see."

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Janes chicken strips added to recall list over salmonella concerns

A week after the Janes brand chicken burgers were put on a recall list for possible salmonella contamination by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the company's chicken strips have been added.

Consumers can throw product out or return to store for refund

Sofina Foods Inc. has recalled Janes brand Pub Style Chicken Burgers due to possible salmonella contamination. (Canadian Food Inspection Agency)

A week after Janes brand chicken burgers were put on a food recall list by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the company's chicken strips have been added. 

The agency issued the recall Friday because of a possible salmonella contamination. They say consumers should not eat the recalled product. 

Pub Style Chicken Strips come in an 800-gram package with a best-before date of May 11, 2019.

The recalled products, which were sold across the country, should be discarded or returned to the store where they were purchased.

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