The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says it has completed a review of the food safety controls at XL Foods Inc., where E. coli O157:H7 findings have led to a voluntary recall of more than 250 products.
The review focused on the plant's preventative control measures, food-safety policies and procedures, laboratory methodology, and equipment and quality systems.
The CFIA said in a news release, while the review did not identify one single factor that would lead to E. coli O157:H7 contamination, the combination of several deficiencies could have played a role. "By themselves, each of these findings would not typically signal an immediate concern during the course of normal inspection activities," the CFIA said.
The agency identified a number of issues with regards to the establishment’s preventative control plan. It says the detection of E. coli in slaughter facilities is not uncommon, and plants are expected to have adequate measures in place to monitor higher than normal detection rates and modify control measures accordingly. "This trend analysis was not always conducted consistently at this facility," according to the federal agency.
In addition, it goes on to say, "deviations were noted from the company’s documented E. coli O157:H7 control measures and sampling and testing procedures. The company was unable to demonstrate through its documentation that it regularly reviewed or made necessary updates to its control plan for the facility."
XL Foods Inc. has developed a response plan. The CFIA says it has accepted the company’s plan and will monitor corrective actions to verify that they have been implemented effectively.
As of Monday, the CFIA had issued seven alerts identifying products that are affected by this recall. To date, more than 250 products have been affected by this recall, including ground beef and related products in Sobeys/Foodland stores and more recently medium ground beef and all store-made ground beef products sold in Sobeys stores in the Atlantic region, including Newfoundland and Labrador, with packed on dates between Sept. 16 and 22.
The recall also includes Sobeys, Foodland, IGA, Metro, and Safeway stores in other provinces, Costco Kirkland Signature products nationally and beef products prepared for corporate and franchised stores of Loblaw Companies Ltd. in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.
The CFIA continues to collect information from suppliers, distributors and retailers, so there is a possibility that additional products could be identified and further expansions could be issued.
The CFIA continues to work with its provincial and federal public health counterparts. To date, health authorities have not established a link between this recall and any illnesses.
A full list of the recalled products and stores affected CLICK HERE.