Panelists each to be paid up to $1,300 daily to review XL Foods outbreak

OTTAWA – It will cost taxpayers up to $3,500 a day, plus expenses, for a panel to review the E. coli outbreak at an Alberta meat plant last fall.

The federal government last week launched a review of the outbreak of the potentially deadly bacteria at the XL Foods Inc. plant in Brooks, Alta.

The review will be conducted by an independent, three-member panel.

A cabinet order dated Feb. 5 shows that Ronald Lewis, the former chief veterinary officer for British Columbia, will be paid up to $1,300 a day to chair the panel.

The two other members, Northwest Territories chief public health officer Andre Corriveau and Ronald Usborne, a former executive with Caravelle Foods, will each be paid up to $1,100 per day.

Other expenses, including travel, accommodation and hiring expert staff will add to the overall bill.

The review is to focus on what contributed to the outbreak at XL Foods, how well the Canadian Food Inspection Agency responded and why tainted meat ended up on store shelves and in peoples’ kitchens.

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