SHOW AND TELL: Our visual blog on the largest beef recall in Canadian history

Holy cow: A visual exploration of the numbers behind the news


Canada is in the middle of a contamination crisis.
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s recall of more than 1,500 beef products from XL Foods is, in fact, the largest beef recall in our country’s history. That’s far from insignificant. But what does “large” mean, really, and how does our current predicament compare to some of the biggest meat recalls in recent history? Let’s look:

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SHOW AND TELL: Our visual blog on the largest beef recall in Canadian history

  1. Thank you for the reality check. This entire incident has become about politics. The Globe and Mail had an excellent article yesterday pointing out thus far only they can only link five people who have become ill with food poisoning to meat processed at XL Foods. All this supposition related to an increase in cases in Saskatchewan is exactly that. Even the little girl who got hemolytic uremic syndrome due to E-coli in an undercooked hamburger has not been conclusively linked to meat processed at XL Foods. Of course they are recalling everything. The US has closed its border to any meat processed by this plant. Ranchers are suffering. How else do you instill any kind of confidence in the safety of Canadian beef except to recall it all and close down the plant for a total overhaul.

  2. When I was doing production work the boss has always been in too much of a hurry to make money than worry about quality. I have worked at many production jobs and have been told I am too slow. The job, any job, will take as long as it takes. Money and the pursuit is evil and stupid. Nothing satisfies like a job well done and a customer NOT in line for a refund or repair.

    • Maybe you are just too slow? Ever think of that?

  3. But why muddy the waters on the largest *Canadian* BEEF recall by mingling in *American* recalls (e.g., Hudson) & NON-beef items? CPC apologist?

    • Wow! I thought this issue was about food safety? Apparently it is about dissing the government. Who would have guessed? The thing is that many food businesses including the cattle business in the USA and Canada are so closely related, you don’t know where your beef or other food products are coming from so you had better accept that recalls due to bacteria are a reality in BOTH countries and are a concern for all of us. You had better also realize that your best defence is to cook foods appropriately because the recall may not come until you have already eaten the food. People are already accepting of salmonella in their chicken, turkey and eggs. Nobody balks and having to cook these items well. Cooking burgers well is a reality you need to accept as well and NOT piercing your steaks is another reality.

  4. Kind of stupid to think this graphic means much since the recalls are continuing. A more important effect is that XL Foods is closed down and apparently XL Foods alone provides one third of Canada’s beef, which would explain why the recall is so widespread.

    The Alberta beef industry has been badly damaged by the stupid Harper Conservatives, who killed 23 people with listeriosis in 2008 by cutting food inspectors back then (that one isn’t even on the above chart). Now the fools have just announced they plan to cut more red tape, in other words to deregulate more, presumably because they haven’t killed enough Canadians yet with their stupid stupid decisions.