Ground beef is seen on the shelves of a Sobeys grocery store in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Sept. 23, 2012.
Credits: IAN KUCERAK/EDMONTON SUN QMI AGENCY
CALGARY - Consumers must be on the alert for further recalls of meat potentially tainted with E. coli bacteria, federal regulators said Friday.
The warning came hours after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency shut down operations at XL Foods’ meat processing plant at Brooks, believed to be the source of contaminated meat.
So far, about 250 products have been recalled since the first advisory went out Sept. 16.
They’ve covered meat produced by the plant on Aug. 24, 27, 28, 29 and Sept. 5 and sold between Aug. 24 and Sept. 25.
Recalls have also been expanded in 30 U.S. states.
So far, no illnesses have been positively linked to the meat, though at least four E. coli cases in Alberta contain evidence suggesting they could be, said federal officials.
In a press release issued late Thursday night, the CFIA said it temporarily suspended the company’s operating licence, effective immediately.
“All products currently at this plant are under CFIA detention and control,” the agency said.
“These products will only be released after being tested for E. coli O157:H7.
“XL Foods Inc. will not resume operations until they have demonstrated that they have fully implemented CFIA’s required corrective actions.”
The agency launched an investigation into XL Foods Inc. earlier this month.
The CFIA investigation did not find one factor leading to contamination, but said a combination of several deficiencies played a role.
“CFIA noted deviations were noted from the company’s documented E. coli O157:H7 control measures and sampling and testing procedures,” the release said.
“The company was unable to demonstrate through its documentation that it was consistently and effectively implementing its agreed upon control program.”
Based on information provided by the company Wednesday and through inspections, the CFIA said it found “these deficiencies have not been completely corrected.”
It said it will continue to alert consumers about any additional product recalls.
“This will lead to a series of recall announcements over the next few days as implicated products are identified and traced,” the CFIA said.
A list of recalled items can be found at inspection.gc.ca.