The largest ever beef recall - Macleans.ca

The largest ever beef recall

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While e.coli cases are reported in Saskatchewan, Gerry Ritz appears in Alberta and experts point to flaws in the system.

Kevin Allen, a food microbiologist at the University of British Columbia, says Canada should look south of the border for answers. He said, “Something wasn’t working right” at the XL foods plant, overseen by 40 government inspectors and six veterinarians. “When you look at U.S. policy, they have a zero tolerance. They will simply not tolerate the presence of this organism in their beef and I think that’s a much more proactive approach, where food safety and the possible consequences are put first and foremost,” said Allen.

Rick Holley, a professor of food science at the University of Manitoba, disagrees with Allen on a zero-tolerance policy on E. coli 0157:H7, but he’s clear on one thing: beef eaters shouldn’t take huge comfort when the government talks about how much better equipped it is to prevent, detect and respond to potential food safety risks because it implemented all of the food-safety recommendations from four years ago. “We’re no different from where we were four years ago,” said Holley.

After Question Period today, the Liberals will ask the Speaker for an emergency debate on the recall.