More Canadians fall sick in huge E. coli beef recall

Sat Oct 6, 2012 7:49pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Ten people have now fallen sick from contaminated beef products from a Canadian plant that sent its meat across Canada and the United States, more than twice the number earlier reported, health officials said on Saturday.

The latest cases, linked to one of Canada's largest-ever meat recalls, include three more illnesses in Alberta, where the giant XL Foods beef processing plant is located, two in Quebec and one in Newfoundland and Labrador.

All 10 people are recovering, the health and food inspection officials said on a conference call with reporters.

The ever-widening recall of meat from the plant now involves more than 1,800 products including steaks, ground beef and roasts and now spans all of Canada and most U.S. states.

The previous four cases were also in Alberta, and officials say they have evidence that these victims ate meat produced by the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alberta, which has been shut down since September 27.

The United States stopped importing meat from the plant on September 13.

The Canadian officials said the six new cases were caused by the same strain of the E. coli bacteria as the previous cases.

The officials said they cannot prove that the sick people ate food from XL. But Dr. Frank Plummer, chief science officer of Canada's Public Health Agency, said it was almost certain that all 10 cases trace back to the XL Foods meat recall.   Continued...

Ground Alberta beef in seen in coolers at Bon Ton Meat Market in Calgary, Alberta, October 3, 2012. REUTERS/Todd Korol