Via CBC News: E. coli-tainted beef recalled days after meat tested positive. Excerpt:
The federal system designed to keep Canadian food safe to eat failed in December to prevent ground beef contaminated with E. coli from being offered for sale to consumers.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's December recall of 31,000 pounds of ground beef followed a positive test of a random sample by a federally-co-ordinated public health surveillance program, CBC News has learned. It was not a result of any inspection work performed by the CFIA, whose job it is to prevent tainted meat from entering the marketplace.
The recall also was not widely publicized until the morning of Dec. 2 — three or four days after the "use by" dates of the packaged meat had passed.
That timeline suggests the entire food safety system managed by CFIA failed to either detect E. coli-tainted meat in a federally regulated processing facility or recall the problem batch until after any of the fresh meat had likely been consumed or thrown out.
The details of the recall prompted an angry reaction from NDP agriculture critic Malcolm Allen.
"That's not a safety inspection system, that's actually just a failure," he said. "If by the time they actually make a recall, it's days after the best before date, there's nothing on the shelf to recall.
"It's either been bought, in people's freezers, been consumed, or the retailer themselves removed it -- not because they knew it was unsafe but because the best before date expired and they took it off the shelf themselves."
The meat was shipped by Cargill Meat Solutions from its Calgary processing plant to Walmart stores across the four Western provinces on Nov. 19 and 20.
That facility is federally inspected, but the systems in place there apparently did not detect any E. coli.