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Investigation into E. coli in Burgers

27 February 2013

CANADA - Canada Safeway Ltd has recalled a range of products because of possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has launched an investigation at the producing facility, Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd., to examine how the burgers may have become contaminated.

The focus is two pronged: verifying that appropriate E. coli controls were applied in the facility and tracing all ingredients, which include domestic and international inputs, used in the recalled burgers. As our work progresses, additional products may be recalled.

In December, the CFIA conducted a separate E. coli investigation after a different brand of burgers produced by Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd. was recalled.

At this point, work is underway to assess if and how these two situations may be linked.

The CFIA said that Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd is one of the largest producers of frozen burger patties in Canada, sourcing ingredients from a variety of other suppliers. Therefore, its involvement in a recall of frozen burgers does not necessarily signal a problem in the Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd. facility itself.

The latest recall stems from samples of burgers taken from retail stores in response to the investigation of two cases of E. coli illness.

The CFIA was informed of these cases on 13 February and based on the food histories of the people that became sick, the agency immediately began collecting samples of burgers from retail stores in Ontario and Western Canada for testing.

The recall was initiated after the testing returned positive results for E. coli O157:H7.

As a precaution, Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd decided to recall all products produced on the same line and the same day as the burgers that tested positive. We are still awaiting test results to determine if the cases of illnesses are linked to the recalled burgers.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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