The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says inspectors did not find any E.coli contamination in 5,100 beef carcasses that were cut and processed over the past week at the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alta.
“I can tell you that all of our results and those of the company are negative for E. coli,” said Paul Mayers, associate vice-president for CFIA programs.
At the same time, CFIA also confirmed one more person has been infected with E. coli that is linked to beef from XL foods. The CFIA says that person is now recovering.
The plant’s licence was suspended on Sept. 27 because of concerns about E. coli contamination and deficiencies identified by CFIA at the facility.
Since then, more than 1,800 beef products have been recalled.
However, on Friday, the CFIA said 54,000 kilograms of primal cut meat — which are the whole cuts of a cow such as chuck, rib, and round — that are currently being held in cold storage, could make it back into grocery stores if XL Foods cooks the beef first.
But it’s still unclear whether XL Foods plans to do that, or if it will destroy the beef instead.
Review to be completed over weekend
Meanwhile, the CFIA says it plans to complete its review of the processing plant over the weekend.
From that point, officials will then complete its final report on the facility, which is the determinant on when or if the plant will be reissued its license.
“I want to remind everyone that the plant will not be allowed to re-open unless we are confident that the food safety controls are being implemented effectively and consistently,” Mayers said.
“When the plant is allowed to re-open it will resume normal operations under enhanced CFIA oversight which will continue for as long as the CFIA deems necessary.”
Also on HuffPost:
While most strains of E. coli are harmless, the Public Health Agency Of Canada warns that some strains including E. coli O157: H7, can make people sick, and in serious complications can include kidney failure.
Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever that is generally less than 38.5˚C/101˚F and tend to last for five to seven days.
High risk individuals include the very young, elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can be fatal, can develop in around 5 to 10 per cent of those who get sick from E. coli O157:H7 overall and about 15 per cent of young children and the elderly. Symptoms of HUS vary. Some people have seizures or strokes and some need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis. Others live with side effects such as permanent kidney damage.
Proper hygiene including hand washing and safe food handling and preparation practices are recommended to prevent the illness.
While E. coli is generally associated with ground meat, Alberta Health Services warns that the bacteria can also be found in foods including poultry, pork, cheese, sprouts, lettuce, yogurt, and unpasteurized milk and fruit juices and advises Albertans to take precaution.
Hey, the time is good now as any. Drop by at a store that sells local and/or organic meat. Many major retail chains now supply local produce. Or stop by a farmers market. Heck, if you live in Alberta, you could walk (drive) over to the farm and really get to know where your food is coming from.
Beef From Other Plants
There are other major beef producers that thankfully have been spared from the major recalls. Purchase meat from Cargill producers in Alberta perhaps?
Maybe you could treat yourself to some bison if you're missing your medium-rare steak during the recall. Who knows, you may just come back for more!
Dare we say it... producers from around the country (and world) have safe beef for consumption. Maybe its time to look for temporary alternatives to get your steak from. Alberta beef will be back on the market soon anyway.
Beefalo burgers anyone? This could be an opportunity to give these hybrid animals a taste if you've been contemplating trying beefalo for sometime.
Other Meats Like Chicken
You love your beef and it loves you right back, but maybe you can take this opportunity to try out different foods. Now we don't mean tofu, but some butter chicken may be a refreshing addition to your plate.
Fresh halibut? Yes, please.