More than 20 B.C. retail chains have pulled beef products from their shelves as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continues to expand the recall from the XL Foods plant in Alberta because of high levels of E. coli.
The processing centre is now in the middle of the biggest beef recall in Canadian history with more than 500 products distributed at thousands of retailers across Canada pulled in recent weeks.
The public, distributors and food service establishments are being told not to consume, sell, or serve the meat. The products in question were manufactured at the XL Foods plant on August 24, 27, 28, 29 and September 5.
In addition to the products and retailers included in the recall list, the CFIA warns unlabelled and unmarked beef from smaller butcher shops or local markets could also be from the XL Foods plant.
Consumers who are unsure if they have the affected beef products in their homes are advised to check with the store where the products were bought or to throw them out.
Thrifty Foods spokesman Ralf Mundel confirmed a label mix-up at one of its stores has resulted in some mislabelled roasts being recalled.
"In the case of our Coquitlam store -- and we take full responsibility -- mislabelled unfortunately 20 roasts, that were from XL, and we unfortunately mislabelled them as Sterling Silver, and that was a pure oversight."
So far four Albertans are confirmed to be sick from E coli contamination and at least five other cases are under investigation, but there have been no case of E coli linked to the recall reported in B.C.
Cooking beef to an internal temperature of 74 degrees Celsius will kill the bacteria, but experts say it is better to be safe and throw out or return any meat flagged by the CFIA
Kevin Boon, the general manager of the BC Cattlemen's Association, estimates almost half of the beef produced in B.C. was likely shipped to the XL Foods plant for processing.
"There's only two major plants in Alberta that do process our product so you know it's just by the law of averages it could be as high as half of what we send out of B.C. goes through it. It depends on the time of year and who's willing to pay the most dollar," said Boon.
B.C. retailers affected by the recall:
- Thrifty Foods,
- Overwaitea Foods,
- Cooper's Foods,
- PriceSmart Foods,
- Bulkley Valley Wholesale,
- Real Canadian Superstore,
- Extra Foods,
- Real Canadian Wholesale Club,
- Costco Wholesale Canada,
- Super A,
- Big Way,
- No Frills,
- Shop Easy,
- Your Independent Grocer.