The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has expanded its recall of possibly E. coli-tainted beef to include products sold in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows grocery stores.
The beef recall is the largest in Canadian history, spreading to every Canadian province and territory, as well as 30 U.S. states.
Among local retailers believed to have sold the potentially tainted products are Extra Foods, Real Canadian Superstore, Cooper’s Foods, Safeway, Save-On-Foods, and Thrifty Foods.
In all, more than 1,000 products from 66 grocery store chains across the country are currently affected by the recall.
The CFIA is asking the public to check to see if they have the recalled product in their home.
If you have already prepared and stored this meat, do not consume it.
“If you are unsure whether a product is part of the recall, the safest course of action is to throw it away,” said a CFIA spokesperson. “When in doubt, throw it out.”
Food contaminated with E. coli may not look or smell spoiled, and consumption may cause serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, seizures or strokes, and some may need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis. In severe cases of illness, E. coli poisoning can be fatal.
So far, there have been nine confirmed cases of E. coli poisoning due to eating the recalled beef, all of them in Alberta.
CFIA initially announced on Sept. 16 the voluntary recall of raw beef products produced from Alberta’s XL Foods meat processing plant on Aug. 24, 27, 28, 29 and Sept. 5, after tests found E. coli bacteria in samples of raw beef trimmings. Last week, the CFIA temporarily suspended XL Food’s license to operate until adequate food safety controls are put in place.
According to the CFIA, the detection of E. coli in slaughter facilities is not uncommon, however, XL Foods was lax in its testing and control procedures, and failed to prevent potentially-tainted meat from leaving the plant.
Since Sept. 16, the CFIA has expanded the recall several times to include companies, including grocery chains, who may have bought raw beef trimmings from XL Foods and resold them or used them as ingredients in other products.
A spokesperson from Thrifty’s Foods said Sunday that all recalled raw beef products have been removed from store shelves.
XL Foods is not a usual supplier of beef products to the grocery chain. However, the Maple Ridge location, as well as others across the Lower Mainland, purchased small amounts of whole beef cuts during the recall period, and a small amount of beef product was affected.
Thrifty customers concerned they may have purchased products covered by the recall are being asked to destroy the product and bring in a receipt, product label or empty packaging back to the store where the beef was purchased for a full refund.
Other grocery chains are offering similar refund offers.
• For a full list of recalled products, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website at bit.ly/S5ntwi, or call 1-800-442-2342.