Raw pork from two more city retailers is being pulled from store shelves as food safety officials continue investigating where tainted meat that sickened scores of Albertans was shipped to and sold around the province.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said pork sold at Trimming Fresh Meats Ltd. in the third week of July and Hiep Hoa Asian Food in the last half of July and a few days the middle of August may be contaminated with potentially-fatal bacteria.
At least one person is reported to have fallen sick after eating meat from the pair of outlets that were supplied with product from V&T Meat Wholesale.
All the pork produced by V&T since mid-July was recalled last week after investigators found meat at the 17th Ave SE facility was tainted with E. coli O157:H7.
Frozen spring rolls, pork buns and wontons made and sold at Vinh Fat Food Products in Edmonton have also been implicated in the expanding recall.
Testing has found that at least 100 people have fallen ill from bacteria with the identical genetic fingerprint after eating pork from V&T or Edmonton’s Hiep Thanh Trading that was mostly served up at Asian eateries.
At least 19 of those victims were sick enough to require hospitalization and five have been left with chronic kidney disease due to their infection.
While the list of implicated end products grows, CFIA officials did not reply Monday to Herald questions about whether a pair of small meat distributors in two different cities that appear to have shipped meat tainted with identical bacteria received shipments from the same abattoir or slaughter facility.
When clusters of Albertans began falling sick in late July after eating at different Asian restaurants in the province’s two largest cities, investigators were certain a common ingredient used at all the establishments was to blame.
But Dr. James Talbot, Alberta’s chief medical officer, said officials didn’t begin to focus on pork as the potential culprit until nearly a month later, after beef, bean sprouts and green onions had been eliminated from the list of suspects.
While investigators took a while to identify the source of the illnesses, a 2011 study by provincial government scientists of products produced at Alberta abattoirs and slaughter houses found that pork was nearly as likely to be tainted with the types of E.coli that make people sick as beef.
“We determined that 5.4 per cent of beef and 4.8 per cent of pork samples were positive for Shiga-toxin producing E.coli,” the study said.