An E. coli outbreak linked to the XL Foods beef recall that has sickened 16 people in four Canadian provinces has raised food safety concerns among consumers in Canada, according to the results of a new Ipsos poll. Eighty three percent of Canadians surveyed said they were concerned about food safety, an increase of 6 percentage points since the last survey in 2010.
The number of those who say they “trust in the safety of meat products” has dropped 9 nine percentage points to 77 percent, according to the survey. But only 44 percent say their fears will affect their consumption of beef for the short term and just 9 percent say the massive recall and associated outbreak will change how much beef they eat in the future.
The poll results were released the same day that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that XL foods was cleared to reopen. Inspectors from the agency have been monitoring operations at the facility since October 11 and “determined that the company’s E. coli O157:H7 controls, as well as sanitation and meat hygiene procedures, are being implemented appropriately.”
Before the recall and outbreak, 46 inspectors were assigned to the plant. Those numbers will be beefed up as the plant resumes operations with two additional inspectors joining the team. New tests for E. coli O157:H7 are in place and the test and hold policy has been created. CFIA inspectors said they will immediately stop operations if concerns are identified. The agency has convened a panel of experts to conduct a review of the recall and outbreak.