Sask. sees spike in E. coli cases in September
Published Tuesday, October 2, 2012 11:41AM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, October 3, 2012 7:45AM CST
Health officials have confirmed there were 13 cases of E. coli infection in Saskatchewan last month.
Meanwhile, Flip Eatery and Drink in Regina has voluntarily closed its doors after five restaurant patrons tested positive for E. coli.
It all comes as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency expanded a massive recall on beef products Tuesday.
Officials in Saskatchewan are trying to determine whether the spike in E. coli cases is linked to tainted beef from an Alberta meat-packing plant. Test results are expected within the next few days.
In the meantime, people are being reminded to cook all meat thoroughly and be vigilant about hand washing.
Both NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Bob Rae accused the government of attempting to shift responsibility for the recall onto the CFIA. But the government maintained that the CFIA acted as soon as it was notified about the E. coli contamination and is continuing its investigation.
Mulcair called on the government to take responsibility for the recall and not shirk it onto civil servants, specifically the CFIA.
“You can’t pass the buck to civil servants. You can’t keep their feet to the fire. What you can do is take responsibility and be accountable,” he said.
Rae also accused the government of passing responsibility for the beef recall onto the CFIA after it was expanded this week.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper rose in question period to say the agency has been working ever since it was alerted to the outbreak on Sept. 4. He also said that under his government funding for the agency has increased, as has the number of mill inspectors.
“The government has added 700 net mill inspectors since 2006,” said Harper.
Parliamentary secretary to the minister of agriculture Pierre Lemieux also defended the government’s response to the beef recall.
“Canadian consumers are always a first priority when it comes to food safety for our government,” said Lemieux. Lemieux accused the NDP of voting against measures to increase resources and funding for the CFIA in the past.
Tuesday’s recall includes unlabelled and unbranded beef products sold at a variety of retail stores, including The Real Canadian Superstore and Extra Foods, Dominion, Save Easy, The Real Atlantic Superstore, Loblaws, Valu-mart and The Kitchen Table.
The CFIA is advising Canadians who are unsure if they have purchased affected beef products to check with the stores where they were purchased or throw them out.
The agency temporarily suspended XL Food’s operating license last week, leaving more than 2,000 employees temporarily out of work.
Last week, the United States banned all imports from XL and pulled the company’s beef from stores in 30 states, including Wal-Mart.
With files from CTV.ca News Staff