Yukon officials issue recall for locally-made jerky possibly contaminated with THC

Yukon health officials have issued a recall and the Yukon RCMP is investigating after several people who ate beef or bison jerky made by Off the Hook Meatworks experienced "a variety of physical and mental effects." Traces of THC were found in the systems of complainants who went to the hospital.

Officials say several people who consumed the product 'felt a variety of physical and mental effects'

Beef jerky on a desktop, Dec. 30, 2020. Yukon health officials are recalling beef and bison jerky made by Off the Hook Meatworks after some people experienced mental and physical symptoms after eating it. (Walter Strong/CBC)

Yukon health officials have issued a recall for locally-made beef and bison jerky after several people experienced "a variety of physical and mental effects" after consuming it. 

Medical testing on the people who went to the hospital showed traces of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, in their systems. 

The voluntary recall, issued the evening of Dec. 30, covers jerky made by Off the Hook Meatworks. 

Yukon RCMP are also investigating. 

CBC made multiple attempts to contact Off the Hook for comment but hasn't received a response.

According to a Yukon government press release, police received complaints from "several individuals" who felt a variety of symptoms after consuming the jerky, including feeling sick or nauseous, numbness, stumbling or difficulty walking, a high heart rate and dizziness. 

The jerky has been removed from local store shelves. 

Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson Pat Living told CBC Wednesday that the environmental health services branch was notified of the issue that morning, and that the jerky was removed from local store shelves the same day.

Living couldn't say exactly how many people reported symptoms after eating the jerky, or how many packages the recall covered, but said there had been a "number of individuals who had presented to the hospital over a period of days." 

"Someone picked up that there was a bit of a pattern," she said. 

Off the Hook has been "fully cooperative" with both health officials and police, Living confirmed.

She said she couldn't recall the last time officials had to issue a recall for products possibly contaminated with THC.

Off the Hook Meatworks storefront in Whitehorse photographed on Dec. 31. (Jackie Hong/CBC)

Officials with Yukon Environmental Health are advising people who have either of the products in their homes not to eat them, and is also advising anyone who has the products to follow these steps:

  • Don't eat any of the food.

  • Get medical attention right away if anyone who has had contact with the food feels unusual symptoms or sick.

  • Don't handle the food more than you need to.

  • Carefully place all the food in a sealable container (even if it's half-eaten). Close the container. Write "DO NOT EAT" on the container. 

  • Keep any unopened containers of similar product, but do not open them.

  • Keep the food away from your regular food supply and away from your family.

  • Don't feed the food to pets or livestock. ·     

  • Keep the container, packaging, label, receipt and grocery bag that came with the food.

  • Write down any information you remember about the product, such as product codes, "best before" dates, where and when product was purchased.

Anyone who's consumed beef or bison jerky from Off the Hook in the last two weeks and has felt unwell is asked to contact Yukon RCMP at 867-667-5555 or environmental health services at 867-667-8391.

With files from Michel Proulx