|Ground beef is seen on the shelves of a Sobeys grocery store in Sherwood Park, Alberta on September 23, 2012. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY IAN KUCERAK/EDMONTON SUN/QMI AGENCY
CALGARY - In the midst of the largest meat recall in Canada, food inspection officials are calling retailers to ensure contaminated products aren’t getting into the hands of consumers.
As is the case in every recall, Canadian Food Inspection Agency offices are continuing to make contact with retailers and restaurants to ensure they are removing products stemming from the shuttered XL Foods plant in Brooks, said spokeswoman Lisa Gauthier.
“The distribution chain is quite large with this one,” she said.
“Different companies have received it and they ship it on and ship it on, which is why we see that expansion because as we move down that chain and find out different products that have been made using the ground beef then they get added to the list.”
So far 10 people, including seven in Alberta, have fallen ill with E.coli from beef linked to the XL Foods plant.
The CFIA expanded the recall list Saturday, the same day the Public Health Agency of Canada revealed five more cases of E.coli tied to the plant.
The plant has been shut down since its licence was temporarily suspended Sept. 27 and the CFIA is working with XL Foods to make sure it makes its necessary improvements related to managing E.coli risks and sanitation.
It could face a shut down of production lines or prosecution if the corrective action plan is unsuccessful or the operator is unwilling to address the problem, says the CFIA website.
An unusual number of E. coli cases have also sprung up in Saskatchewan, but none has so far been linked to the Alberta facility.
On Saturday, a recorded message posted to XL’s answering machine said the company deeply regrets the illness caused.
“Our thoughts are with the affected people at this time. We are fully committed and working diligently with the CFIA to build on many of our industry-leading practices and intensify and enhance food safety systems to exceed existing high standards and regain the trust of Canadian consumers,” it stated.
The company has continually declined to answer direct questions from the media.
For a list of recalled beef products, click here.