E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak In Canada – Again!


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning the public not to consume certain frozen beef burgers, due to a risk of E. coli O157:H7 contamination after finding E. coli O157:H7 in products tested as part of an “ongoing outbreak investigation.” The Public Health Agency of Canada has not yet released any information about this new outbreak.

Canada Safeway Limited has recalled the following products, which were distributed in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Northwest Territories:

  • The Gourmet Meat Shoppe Big & Juicy Burger (1.13 kg: UPC 0 58200 10650 3; Best before 2013 AU 14 EST 752)
  • The Gourmet Meat Shoppe Prime Rib Burger (907g; UPC 0 58200 10733 3; Best before 2013 AU 14 EST 752)
  • The Butcher’s Cut Pure Beef Patties, 10 Patties (1.13 kg; UPC 0 58200 21604 2; Best before 2013 AU 14 EST 752)
  • The Butcher’s Cut Pure Beef Patties, 20 Patties (2.27 kg; UPC 0 58200 21592 2; Best before 2013 AU 14 EST 752)
  • The Butcher’s Cut Pure Beef Patties, 40 Patties (4.45 kg; UPC 0 58200 21594 6; Best before 2013 AU 14 EST 752)

All of the above-listed products originated from Cardinal Meat Specialists Limited (Establishment 752. 155 Hedgedale Road, Brampton, Ontario). This is the same establishment that was linked to a 5-case outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in December 2012. The same establishment that was investigated ‘extensively’ – and fruitlessly – by CFIA in December 2012.

The detailed report promised in its final investigation update, posted on December 24th, has not yet been released to the public. Perhaps it’s just as well; that ‘final’ report would have been premature.

At this stage of the investigation, all we have are questions:

  1. How large is this outbreak? How many patients? Which provinces?
  2. Is this the same genetic strain of E. coli O157:H7 that was responsible for the December 2012 outbreak?
  3. Has production been suspended at the Cardinal Meat facility? If not, why not?
  4. What does CFIA plan to do this time to improve on its December 2012 performance?

This is the third meat-related E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Canada in less than one year. What is the federal government doing to prevent E. coli O157:H7 from spiraling out of control in Canadian beef?

5 thoughts on “E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak In Canada – Again!

  1. I found the following statement rather strange; “Cardinal Meat Specialists is one of the largest producers of frozen burger patties in Canada, sourcing ingredients from a variety of other suppliers,” he said. “Therefore, its involvement in a recall of frozen burgers does not necessarily signal a problem in the Cardinal Meat Specialists facility itself.”

    Surely they are responsible both for the quality of the raw material and the quality of the finished product and one would want to keep raw material microbial quality high if only to reduce contamination of the plant and equipment. We are talking here about a product that is not processed to kill bugs before it leaves the plant?

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  2. You know that nothing that gets published by the gov. is not reviewed to death – and according to information I got under Acess to Information this little venture cost 2.6 million for 12 million copies. Interestingly by the time I asked for information there was nothing available, except a 2 page MEDIA LINES – obviously the publication self-generated.

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  3. “There’s a good reason why the foods we eat in Canada are safe” So said Government of Canada publication Food Safety and You dated 2000???? How did that sentence ever pass the review process????

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