CFIA expands beef recall
Ground beef is being pulled from grocery store shelves across Canada due to a possible E.coli contamination.
Published Monday, September 24, 2012 6:58AM MDT
Last Updated Monday, September 24, 2012 6:33PM MDT
For the sixth time, Canada’s Food Inspection Agency is expanding a beef recall that has already reached nation-wide proportions.
This time, the products involved in the recall include unlabelled ground beef sold from August 24 to September 16 at grocery stores and independent shops as well as medium ground beef sold at Alberta Wal-Mart stores.
Products from XL Foods, an Edmonton-based beef producer, started to be pulled from shelves about a week ago because of the possibility of E. coli contamination.
Six people have become sick with E. coli but the agency has not yet linked their illnesses to the recent recalls.
“No, at this time, health authorities have not established a link between this recall and any illnesses, but we are closely collaborating with provincial and federal public health counterparts,” says Lisa Gauthier of the CFIA.
The cases include a four-year-old Calgary girl whose parents say became sick after she ate beef patties purchased from Safeway on September 1.
Reaction about the recall is mixed, with many saying they aren’t concerned because the risk of contracting a disease is minimal but others say they’re avoiding beef.
Susan Baker says she’s been buying more chicken and fish. “We eat vegetarian quite a lot too.”
“I’m avoiding the beef for a little bit at the moment. Kind of looking at stores that have not been listed on the news as stores that have been affected. Buying a little bit more chicken and a little bit more turkey,” Jacques Rader says.
Terrence Belcher, however, says he isn’t concerned. “I don’t know – I think the amount of disease that comes out of beef is so little that it’s not that big of a concern for me.”
Beef producers are on the defensive, saying that any contamination occurs at the processing stage and there is nothing wrong with the beef that’s handled properly at home and cooked to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
“With proper handling and preparation of food, E. coli itself, the risk from E. coli is very low. If they handle food products properly and, with ground beef, if they cook it properly, cook it to the right temperature, there’s almost no risk,” says Rich Smith with the Alberta Beef Producers.
The CFIA says that if you aren’t sure if you own a beef product included in the recall or not, it’s better to err on the side of caution and throw it out.
A full list of items and stores included in the recall can be found on the CFIA website.