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Beef recall expands across Canada, includes Walmart

Beef recall expanded

A large recall of raw beef and veal products continued to expand this week with Canada's food watchdog issuing safety warnings about dozens of items sold at restaurants and retail outlets including Walmart and the gourmet food chain Pusateri's.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Wednesday its investigation continues into the Toronto-based slaughterhouse Ryding-Regency Meat Packers Ltd., which had its licence suspended Sept. 17 due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

At the time, the CFIA said the facility "failed to implement effective control measures."

A spokesman for the processing facility described the safety concerns solely as "a deficiency in paperwork" and not a matter of improper food handling.

"As CFIA reviewed the paperwork they noticed some gaps in recording of daily procedures and so in an abundance of caution, the company is voluntarily recalling meat products that have been sent out," said Neil Brodie, vice president of the Ottawa-based public affairs firm Bluesky Strategy Group.

"It looks like some of the employees were not fully trained on what to do."

A series of CFIA recall warnings over the past several weeks has grown to involve 665 meat products sold on grocery store shelves, as well as 625 items sent to hotels, restaurants, institutions, manufacturers and retailers — products that include variable sizes of steaks, roasts, burgers, bones and organ meats.

The latest recall on Tuesday included a Steakhouse Select brand of cracked pepper beef sirloin roast sold at Walmart in Ontario and Alberta; a Fast Fresh Fabulous brand of bacon-wrapped medallions sold at Overwaitea in British Columbia; and more than a dozen products sold at various Pusateri's Fine Foods outlets in the Toronto area.

The agency said more recalls could follow.

Brodie said Ryding-Regency Meat Packers Ltd. ships its products to grocery stores who then break it down into smaller pieces for retail sale. The plant's two facilities remained shuttered, affecting cattle farmers, plant workers and consumers, he said.

"There's 300 employees in the Toronto area who are staying at home not working while this process works its way through," said Brodie.

The CFIA said there have been no reported illnesses.

Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea. The CFIA advises consumers to throw out recalled products or return them to the location where they were purchased.



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