Massive beef recall expanded again

Virtually every major B.C. grocer sold affected meat

More B.C. retailers have been added to an expanded and lengthy list of outlets affected by the recall of Alberta-processed beef that may be contaminated with e.coli bacteria.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency now lists virtually every major grocer in B.C. as well as various smaller ones as having received recalled raw beef that came from the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alberta.

Affected products include steaks, roasts, ground beef, sausages and soup bones.

For details on the recalled products, including identifying UPC codes and best-before dates, see: http://inspection.gc.ca/recalls_XLFoods

More than 1,500 products are now subject to the expanded recall, the largest affecting beef in Canadian history.

There have been no confirmed e.coli cases in B.C. linked to XL Foods, but there have been cases in Alberta.

Consumers unsure if beef they have is affected are urged by the CFIA to check with their local retailer or throw it out.

E.coli-contaminated food may not look or smell spoiled but can cause serious illness – including seizures, strokes or kidney damage – as well as or death in severe cases.

Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.

CFIA officials shut down the XL Foods plant and say it won’t reopen until a range of corrective actions are taken.

The CFIA said the intricate web of food distribution systems allowed wide distribution of the recalled beef. Some went from XL to other distributors where it was processed further before going to retailers.

Some small retailers and meat markets also repackaged the XL beef, leaving it unlabelled or unbranded and more difficult to identify as recalled.

E.coli was first identified in beef trimmings from XL on Sept. 4 but the CFIA did not declare an immediate recall because it wasn’t thought to have reached the marketplace. The first public alerts weren’t issued until Sept. 16.