Canadian food safety authorities have issued a “blanket” extended warning on ground beef products potentially contaminated with E.coli O157:H7 – almost a month after FoodQualityNews.com reported the original recall.
The recall, which has been extended to include all ground beef products manufactured between 1 July 2011 and 15 February 2012 at Establishment 761, has been issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as a result of information collected during its investigation.
Frozen beef products from the facility, feared to be contaminated with E.coli O157:H7, have been linked to one illness in the country.
Following the original recall, which applied to two New Food Classics products manufactured at Establishment 761, the CFIA refused to take action until the source of the contamination had been pinpointed.
CFIA food safety and recall specialist Garfield Bolsom told FoodQualityNews.com that the recall extension was not a precaution, but the result of the agency’s on-going investigation - adding that the agency is yet to establish the source of the contamination.
“This blanket recall is a result of information collected during our on-going investigation. We don’t like to call it a precaution; it is a result of our investigation so far,” said Bolsom.
“Our focus is to ensure the recall of potentially contaminated products from the marketplace. The investigation is continuing. But at this point we have not pinpointed the source.”
A voluntary recall relating to the ground beef products in question has been issued after the products were distributed nationally to retail stores, restaurants and institutional establishments.
The CFIA is also warning retailers, distributors and restaurants not to sell, serve or use certain ground beef products.
“The main steps for now are to ensure that the recall is conducted, and that these products have been removed from the market.”
“The investigation continues to establish the source of the contamination,” added Bolsom.
FoodQualityNews.com reported on the original CFIA warning which related several batches of New Food Classics-manufactured 1kg packaged Country Morning Beef Burgers and one batch of 2.3kg packs of un-branded Club Pack Beef Steakettes.
At the time, the CFIA said that the investigation was on-going but that it would not take any further action until test results pinpointed the source of the contamination.
“Once the results have come back, and the issue has been established then we will look at changing practices,” said CFIA food safety specialist Fred Jamieson at the time.