EDMONTON -- Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith is eating her words.
Smith on Sunday retweeted a suggestion that the potentially-contaminated beef be fed to the hungry, rather than thrown into the landfill.
On Sunday she tweeted: "I agree. We all know thorough cooking kills E. coli. What a waste. MT @lyechtel: Is there no way to cook it so its safe and feed the hungry?"
On Monday, she said she learned a lesson and should not talk about something she can not explain in 140 Twitter characters or less.
"The company made the decision to put it in a landfill," Smith said. "I said it was a waste, the mayor of Brooks said it was a waste, he commented on it online in agreement with someone who had said something similar, and clearly the public disagreed."
Smith added the company was given a choice to render it, put it in a landfill or cook it and make it available to the public and that testing revealed some of the beef the company threw out was a free of contamination.
Edmonton Food Bank executive director Marjorie Bencz later Tuesday said there is a misconception that people facing poverty can take any products regardless of quality.
"In some ways, we really have to be even more careful than other players because the people that we're serving often have health concerns and are often in a volatile situation for health," she said.
All meat must be processed and approved for distribution, she said.
Bencz said it's disrespectful to people living in poverty that they should take meat that nobody else wants because it may be unsafe.
She said following a few successful food drives the food bank is now heading into Christmas when it holds a big appeal for donations.
Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason agreed with Smith that tossing out the beef was a waste of food, but took issue with the idea that the problem can be solved by cooking it.
"I kind of share the view that it's a terrible waste of food, but the idea that it's OK to give it to poor people and not OK to give it to the rest of the population I find reveals an attitude that I find quite distasteful," Mason said. "They may not be able to afford filet mignon and so on but they should get good quality food and I think it represents an attitude toward poor people that is at best condescending."