August 1, 2014

CFIA’s Investigation into XL Foods Facility for E. coli 0157:H7

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has updated its investigation into the XL Foods facility where positive E. coli 0157:H7 tests led to a huge recall of beef trim, ground beef, and products made with ground beef. The government has reviewed food safety controls at the facility. The review focused on “the plant’s preventative control measures, food-safety policies and procedures, laboratory methodology, and equipment and quality systems.”

The review did not find one single factor that led to the contamination, but found several deficiencies that, when combined, could have played a role. The report states that, “the detection of E. coli in slaughter facilities is not uncommon, and plants are expected to have adequate measures in place to monitor higher than normal detection rates and modify control measures accordingly. This trend analysis was not always conducted consistently at the facility.”

In short, the facility deviated from their document E. coli 0157:H7 control measures, sampling processes, and testing procedures. And the company was not able to provide documentation that it reviewed and made updates to its control plan.

XL Foods has developed a response plan that the CFIA has accepted. So far, there have been seven alerts identifying products produced at this facility that have been recalled. There may be more recalls and expansions. To date, there has not been any link between this recall and illness, according to the report.

Attorney Fred Pritzker is investigating the recall in the U.S., gathering information on possible E. coli cases. He can be contacted by phone at 1-888-377-8900. Pritzker heads up the Bad Bug Law Team, a group of attorneys who represent food poisoning victims in their families in cases against manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and restaurants.

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