The City of Calgary says it has charged a catering company and school lunch delivery service provider at the centre of an E. coli outbreak affecting several daycares, as health authorities zeroed in on a likely source of the infections.
The city alleged Wednesday that Fueling Minds Inc. had been providing third-party food services to five Calgary child-care centres not owned by the company without a proper licence.
The corporation and its two directors have each been charged under the municipal business licensing bylaw for operating without a business licence for a total of 12 charges. They could face a total fine of up to $120,000.
"It is of utmost importance that businesses in Calgary have the proper licences in order to ensure a safer environment for Calgarians and the employees who work at such locations," said Michael Briegel, deputy chief of business safety.
"While the vast majority of businesses do comply, those that don’t could be putting people at risk. The City of Calgary takes this very seriously."
Dozens of children have been hospitalized and hundreds more have fallen ill during the outbreak.
Investigators have previously said the source almost certainly came from the central kitchen used by the 11 daycares at the root of the outbreak.
On Wednesday, the province's chief medical officer of health said odds were "extremely high" that one meal in particular was the cause: meat loaf and vegan meat loaf served for lunch on Aug. 29.
"Unfortunately neither of these items could be tested as they were either eaten or discarded before this outbreak was identified," said Dr. Mark Joffe.
"While we now have a likely source, what we do not know exactly is what was contaminated or how."
He said there would be a third-party external review to ensure investigators had not missed anything in their investigation.