BOW ISLAND, Alta. – Canadian cattle producers say an E. coli outbreak that made 18 people sick and led to an extensive meat recall last fall hasn’t shaken consumer confidence in beef.
Canada Beef Inc., the industry’s marketing arm, said total beef consumption last year was up 2.2 per cent from 2011.
Chairman Chuck MacLean said the industry supports the findings of an independent review that blamed lax attitudes by federal inspectors and staff at the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alta., for the tainted meat.
Canada Beef said it also supports Ottawa’s plan to tighten rules for meat plants and add more inspections.
“I like the 30 recommendations and I think a lot of them are already being enacted,” MacLean said Thursday from his cattle feedlot business in Bow Island in southeastern Alberta.
“Going forward you learn from whatever missteps that we have had in the industry. Hopefully we will fix that and do a better job.”
MacLean said consumers can help reduce the risk of contracting E. coli by properly handling and cooking beef.
The industry is also lobby Health Canada for permission to use irradiation on beef products to kill E. coli.
MacLean said the food-safety system can’t be made perfect, but proper safeguards can help catch detect glitches before they become a serious problem.
“We are putting safeguards in place so that hopefully if somebody is just having a bad day, that it doesn’t get past them.”