10/04/2012 12:20 EDT | Updated 12/03/2012 05:12 EST

Saskatchewan Wants Answers On Meat Inspections


Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the current beef recall is something his cabinet ministers are talking about, and they have questions about the way inspectors check the safety of the food supply.

Wall said Saskatchewan wants to know more about the federal government's meat inspection program.

"I think we'll want to find out what our [provincial] agriculture ministry is hearing from the federal government in terms of resources available now to make sure food safety is the top priority," Wall told reporters in Regina Wednesday, just before a meeting of his provincial cabinet.

Health officials in the province are looking into 13 cases of E. coli infections in the province in the month of September. That's a much higher number than usual.

While the cases have not been linked to the recent meat recall, health officials are examining that possibility.

Wall also said local beef suppliers could experience a surge in business as consumers look for products in the wake of the recall, which has affected a larger supplier, XL Foods.

"There's a lot of small businesses in the meat business; small shops and some medium-sized shops," Wall pointed out. "Maybe we'll have people purchasing more local beef as a result."

Meanwhile, some meat shop owners in Regina said Wednesday the beef recall was having an indirect effect on their businesses.

"My orders have been cut by about three-quarters of what I normally would order," Ron Fellinger, of Fellinger and Sons, told CBC News.

He explained that some of his beef comes from suppliers that are scrambling to meet new demand from stores that were relying on XL Foods, but have had to find other sources because of the recall problems.

Fellinger's cousin, who also runs a butcher shop, said his supply of beef products comes from a producer who has been filling orders without any problems.

"I get my supply every week, once [or] twice a week. We've had no problem," Kurt Fellinger, of Fellinger's Red Meat Wagon said. "Our supplier supplies us solely. Exactly what we want."

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