October 12, 2012
U.S. to evaluate CFIA procedures, spokesman says
By Michel Bellemare, QMI Agency
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will be evaluated by U.S. authorities later this month, a spokesman said.
Guy Gravel, spokesman for the CFIA, said Friday that the assessment is routine and not related to the E. coli outbreak at Alberta's XL Foods that has sickened 15 people in Canada.
"This is nothing new. We also do this with their own procedures, as well as with other countries," Gravel said.
He said the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service hasn't evaluated the CFIA since 2009, and officials south of the border had notified them months ago of their intentions.
"It is by chance that they are coming here during the (XL Foods) recall," Gravel said
Meanwhile, the number of E. coli cases linked to the plant grew Friday as the list of recalled products also expanded.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said two additional cases in B.C. have been confirmed to be tied to the plant, bringing the total number to 15 -- seven in Alberta, one in Newfoundland and Labrador, four in Quebec, and now three in B.C.
Of the B.C. cases, one is a visitor to Canada.
In a press release issued Friday night, the CFIA said the recall also includes unlabelled and/or unbranded beef products sold at stores not identified in the product list, including small retailers, local meat markets and butcher shops.
"Therefore, the CFIA is advising consumers who are unsure if they have the affected beef products in their homes to check with the store(s) where the products were purchased or throw them out," the release said.
-- With files from Katie Schneider