Canadian beef recall expands, rhetoric grows exponentially

That creepy crawly recall of ground beef from a defunct Canadian processor has now expanded to all product in the past seven months.

According to the Toronto Star, the recall started Feb. 18 and has been expanded eight times as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continued its investigation.

The meat is suspected of being contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. One person fell ill in October (yes, October) after eating the meat.

The packaged ready-made beef burgers were produced by New Food Classics of Burlington – aka Establishment 761 – between between July 1, 2011 and Feb. 15, 2012. The company went into receivership Feb. 22.

Hundreds of workers have been locked out of plants in St. Catharines and Saskatoon.

New Food Classics distributed packaged burgers and steakettes under the brand names Best Value, Loblaws’ no name and no name Club Pack, Country Morning and Grillhouse.

In unrelated but ironical news, the union representing CFIA-staffers has resumed negotiations with CFIA but are “wearing black in the workplace, to protest against impending cuts to food inspection, the employer’s lack of respect for administrative staff and the CFIA’s unwillingness to bargain for a fair contract.”

And someone wrote the Ottawa Citizen to say the salmonella-outbreak that has sickened 27 so far from meals associated with The Lunch Lady, is not surprising because, “how can we possibly have safe food when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will be reducing the frequency of inspection visits to meat plants? The Government of Canada plans to reduce $21.5 million from its Food Safety Program budget by 2013 to 2014. Because of the magnitude of these cuts, of course, there will be greater risks of foodborne illnesses.”

Of course, that’s just a rhetorical tool in the absence of evidence that more inspectors would make food safer.