The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is defending its decision not to issue an immediate recall on beef products coming out of the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alta.
On Friday, The CFIA added whole muscle cuts to the list of more than 250 products.
Officials say they were alerted on Sept. 4 to a positive E. coli test in beef shipped to the United States taken the day before, but recalls in Canada didn’t start until Sept. 16.
Canadian inspectors also had a positive E. coli test in a shipment that went to a small plant in Calgary on Sept. 4, which was part of the same shipment out of the XL Foods plant in Brooks.
The CFIA’s Dr. Brian Evans said at a press conference Friday morning that because the shipment was contained and didn't make it to the retail level, officials didn’t feel a need to issue an immediate recall, instead they went to the plant in Brooks to conduct a in-depth review.
The review determined deficiencies that suggested they needed to take further action, which led to a series of countrywide recalls.
"I believe we've acted responsibly once we had evidence that was suggestive," said Evans.
"We've acted aggressively based on a precautionary basis, and we will continue to review our activities into the future, obviously, to determine if in hindsight there was anything that we missed that might have expedited that. At this time I'm not aware that that exists, but we will do a lessons learned for sure."
CFIA has suspended the operating licence of XL Foods at the Brooks plant that has been linked to more than 250 beef products for fear of E. coli contamination.