01/13/2017 07:12 EST | Updated 01/13/2017 09:34 EST

Walmart May Have Sold Food Contaminated By The Fort McMurray Fire

Food items such as candy, beans and potato chips were potentially affected.

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Alberta Health Services is alleging that Walmart Canada kept and sold food that was potentially contaminated by the Fort McMurray wildfire.

The health agency says Walmart Canada has been charged with 174 violations of the province's Public Health Act.

In a statement today A-H-S says it believes that Walmart sold wildfire-contaminated food to the public and this was a direct and avoidable risk to the health of this community.

Alex Roberton, Walmart Canada's senior director of corporate affairs, says the retailer is surprised by the charges.

A file photo of a Walmart Supercentre in Ontario. (Photo: Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

He says Walmart Canada follows very strict policies and procedures designed to ensure the safety of the food it offers its customers.

Roberton says it worked very closely with food inspectors and the crisis management team in the city following the wildfire.

The huge fire that broke out May 1st forced more than 80-thousand people to flee the city.

Residents were not allowed to return to the damaged community until June.

Some of the charges include failing to dispose of food items, including candy, potato chips, beans and condiments.

The health authority says food exposed to wildfires can be damaged by unsafe temperatures, smoke, ash, soot, fire retardants, water and loss of power.

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