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E. coli fear prompts beef recall
Country Morning Beef Burgers and no name Club Pack Beef Steakettes pulled from Yellowknife shelves

Laura Busch
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Two different meat products have been pulled from Yellowknife grocery stores shelves due to possible contamination with a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria.

Product information

Products potentially contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

  • Country Morning Beef Burgers - 1 kg (UPC code: 0 57316 02941 6)

  • no name Club Pack Beef Steakettes - 2.27 kg ( UPC code: 0 60383 01321 9)
  • Certain Country Morning Beef Burgers and no name brand Club Pack Steakettes could be contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7.

    A health hazard alert was released Friday by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) warning about the potentially dangerous food products. Both products are made by New Food Classics, based in Burlington, Ontario.

    "(This strain of E. coli) can be quite dangerous, it can cause kidney failure and death," said Duane Fleming, chief environmental health officer for the GNWT. "With the Walkerton outbreak ... it was this strain of E. coli that caused the deaths that occurred there."

    The Country Morning Beef Burgers were distributed to the Yellowknife Co-Op and to grocery stores in four western provinces, according to the health hazard Alert.

    The Co-Op normally stocks the burgers and they were pulled from shelves on the weekend, general manager Ben Walker said.

    "We immediately remove it from the shelves, destroy it, and put a claim in to our supplier," said Walker about the process the store goes through when they are alerted to a recall.

    The no name brand steakettes are distributed by Loblaws. Extra Foods is among the chains stated to have been sent the potentially contaminated product.

    "We follow all recall notices immediately and upon notice. As such the no name Beef Steakettes were pulled from all our shelves when the recall notice was issued," stated Craig Ware, director of corporate affairs in Western Canada for Loblaws in a written reply to Yellowknifer.

    According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, symptoms from ingesting the dangerous bacteria normally start within three to four days but can show up as long as 10 days after exposure. Symptoms include severe stomach cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and headache. These symptoms usually last between five and 10 days.

    "This type of E. coli comes from feces," said Fleming. "So, somehow that food gets contaminated with the feces. It could be during the processing, during the slaughtering, some type of cross-contamination perhaps in the plant."

    There is no way to tell by look, smell or taste whether meat has been contaminated with E. coli, said Fleming. For this reason, he says, it is best to operate under the assumption that the food is contaminated. Since the bacteria is present on the surface of the food (i.e: the part that came into contact with fecal matter) foods like ground beef with lots of surface area can be more dangerous.

    The GNWT is normally not involved with food recalls, said Fleming. Normally, the federal government along with manufacturers alert the distributors and retailers to the problem.

    The territorial government did get involved in 2008 during the Maple Leaf Foods listeriosis outbreak to help ensure that all affected food products were off of NWT shelves.

    Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency health hazard alert issued Feb. 18

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