|NDP agriculture critic Malcolm Allen. (DAVE HANUSCHUK/QMI AGENCY)
OTTAWA - A day after Alberta's XL Foods took responsibility for the largest meat recall in Canadian history, NDP agriculture critic Malcolm Allen said a public inquiry is needed to probe what happened at the beleaguered plant.
"We need to make sure that we have that public inquiry to make sure that we find out all the things that have gone wrong and actually put back a culture of safety in that plant so that when it comes back operating Canadians will have full confidence that their food is safe," Allen said outside the Commons on Friday.
XL Foods, in Brooks, Alta., had been silent since its license to operate was temporarily suspended on Sept. 27 due to E. coli contamination. The company issued a statement late Thursday.
"We take full responsibility for our plant operations and the food it produces, which is consumed by Canadians from coast to coast," XL said in a statement. "We are doing everything we can to take the lead in an enhanced comprehensive food safety program for our plan."
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency first initiated a recall of the company's beef on Sept. 16, after it stopped XL Foods from exporting meat to the U.S. on Sept. 13. About 1,800 products from the company have now been recalled across the country.
Opposition parties have repeatedly questioned the feds for not stepping in sooner.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has called for the agriculture minister to resign over the issue, but Gerry Ritz maintains the government acted "as quickly and as responsibly as we possibly could."
CFIA president George Da Pont said XL did not conduct a "trend analysis" required to be provided to department inspectors.
"When you look at the timeline ... you will see we acted as quickly and as responsibly as we possibly could," Ritz told reporters at CFIA headquarters on Thursday.