OTTAWA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is again expanding a recall that started when ground beef produced at an Alberta company that was tested in the U.S. came back positive for E. coli.
The agency says the meat is sold at some Sobeys, Foodland, IGA, and Douglas Meats stores in the Prairie provinces, Ontario, the Maritimes and some Big Way and Super A stores.
This is the fifth time the agency has expanded the range of meat being recalled.
The recall, which is voluntary, now affects more than 200 products.
The agency says there have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.
But it has launched a food safety investigation and says there is a possibility that additional products could be identified and further expansions issued.
Agency spokesman Garfield Balsom says notice of the positive findings came from the U.S. inspectors on Sept. 3 — nearly two weeks before the CFIA began issuing advisories about ground beef products produced at Edmonton-based XL Foods.
Balsom said Friday that XL initiated the recall on its own, insisting it was not ordered as a result of test results from the Food Safety Inspection Service of the U.S. Drug Authority.
"There were some positives identified by the FSIS, but the positives were not the trigger for the recall," Balsom said in a telephone interview. "The recall was a voluntary recall by the company."
A statement on the U.S. agency's website said both the U.S. and Canadian food safety agencies conducted followup tests on the beef products, which were distributed in eight states.
XL Foods has not responded to requests for comment.
Balsom urged Canadians to be vigilant about checking any of their recent ground beef purchases to see if they have been included in the recall.
A complete list of affected stores and products can be found on the food inspection agency's website at www.inspection.gc.ca.