Canadian Government launches review of XL Foods E. coli outbreak
Agriculture Canada hires independent panel to conduct review of XL Foods Inc. plant
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
The Government of Canada announced on Friday that it has launched a review into the E. coli outbreak that occurred at the XL Foods Inc. beef processing plant in Brooks, Alberta. The outbreak, which sickened 10 people, was considered the largest beef recall in Canadian history.
Agriculture Canada said that the review will be conducted by an independent group made up of a panel of experts, who will complete a report outlining recommendations on how to improve food safety. They include: Ronald Lewis (former chief veterinary officer for British Columbia), Dr. Andre Corriveau (chief public health officer for the Northwest Territories), and Ronald Usborne (a former executive with Caravelle Foods).
"Our government supports this independent review process. This is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that Canadians continue to have one of the safest food safety systems in the world,” said Agriculture Minister Ritz.
The panel will examine the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) handling the outbreak, and will also look into other factors including seeking answers to questions such as why the tainted meat was distributed to food retailers in the first place and why it was not caught before it was sold to consumers.
At the time of the E. coli outbreak, the XL Foods plant was the largest Canadian beef processing plant in the country. The plant is now owned and operated be JBS Food Canada, which is a subsidiary of JBS in Brazil.
"As our government committed, there will be an independent review that will be made public. We look forward to receiving the Panel's report so that we may review its recommendation,” said Minister Gerry Ritz.