Everyone’s got a camera: Toronto man complains of ‘unsanitary’ meat storage at real Canadian superstore

Michael Pearl says he goes grocery shopping every Sunday at the Real Canadian Superstore near Dufferin Street and Steeles Avenue West.

But on Oct 5, he says he got a disturbing sneak peek behind the deli counter.

“It just seemed like it was a very unsanitary way of storing meat,” Pearl told CBC Toronto.

Pearl was planning on purchasing some steaks but changed his mind when he saw a pile of raw meat in a shopping cart behind the counter.

“Fifty or 60 steaks in there, sitting in the cart without any wrapping that I had seen,” he said. “It just seemed very, you know, very unhygienic and it looked disgusting, to be honest with you.”

Pearl says he took out his phone and snapped a picture, which he brought to a woman he says claimed to be the store manager.  

“I showed her the picture. She seemed aghast at it all,” Pearl said.

In addition to that, Pearl says he sent the photo to the Toronto Board of Health, and filed a complaint with them.  

“They got back to me and said they were going to be looking into it.”

Loblaw Companies director of public relations Karen Gumbs also saw the picture and gave a statement to CBC Toronto, saying this “absolutely should not have happened” because it does not follow the company’s food safety procedures.

“The store immediately addressed this with the colleague,” Gumbs said. “We’ve reminded all departments of our protocols to ensure nothing like this happens again.”

Pearl says he will continue to shop at the Real Canadian Superstore because it’s close and convenient.

When asked if he plans to buy meat from the deli counter again he simply said, “Yeah, why not?”

Could this be the most Canadian food safety story?

People sick, how many a mystery; E. coli O157 in Canadian hamburger

There’s an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Canada, product has been recalled, but no one will say how many are sick.

This is due to some bureaucratic division of reporting: the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports on recalled food, and it’s up to Health Canada or the Public Health Agency of Canada to report actual illnesses.

Expect to hear from one of those agencies in the next week.

What is known is that CFIA and Loblaw Companies Ltd. are warning the public not to consume certain Butcher’s Choice Garlic Peppercorn Beef Burgers because this product may be contaminated with E. Coli O157:H7.

The affected product, Butcher’s Choice Garlic Peppercorn Beef Burgers, is sold frozen in 1.13 kg packages bearing UPC 0 60383 89363 7. The affected product bears the code BEST BEFORE 2013 MR 03 EST 752.

This product has been distributed nationally.

This recall is the result of an ongoing investigation into a number of E. coli O157:H7 related illnesses in Canada. The CFIA is currently testing additional products collected from across the country. The recall may be expanded to include other codes or products as test results are received.

How hard would it be to clearly state, this is how many people are sick, and where they are located? Canadian tax dollars at work. And why isn’t megalomart Loblaw putting out its own version? Hiding behind the sheen of government, which is a lousy shield.


Beware the herbs: parsley positive for salmonella in Quebec

Thanks to Google Translate and my French professor partner, I can report the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ, that’s in Canada), along with the City of Montreal and Provigo, Loblaw group member, are warning the public not to consume fresh curly parsley purchased December 13, 2010 at the establishment located at 12780 Maxi Sherbrooke East, Montreal, because it could be contaminated with salmonella.

The Quebec releases are only available in the Quebec-version of French.

The product was sold in bundles, without packaging, at the facility mentioned above. No illnesses have been reported – yet.

People who have this food in their possession are advised not to eat it and return it to the store where they bought it or throw it away. Even if the product does not show evidence of tampering or suspicious odor, a microbiological investigation revealed the presence of Salmonella.

Toronto grocery store to reopen after illness sent customers to hospital

A Toronto grocery store was evacuated after some staff and customers became ill Saturday, but the Loblaw store should reopen Monday after being given the all clear.

The food chain said four customers and seven employees were affected by symptoms that “include vomiting and to a lesser degree, diarrhea” but all were recovering.

While media reports said the illnesses were caused by a chemical leak, the chain said tests found no such evidence.