Newspaper article The Canadian Press

XL Foods Beef Recall Expanded, Premier Redford Defends Alberta Beef

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

XL Foods Beef Recall Expanded, Premier Redford Defends Alberta Beef

Article excerpt

XL Foods beef recall expanded yet again

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OTTAWA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency made dozens of additions on Sunday to its list of possibly contaminated beef products which came from an Alberta plant.

The CFIA has made the list of stores and products affected by the potential E.coli contamination so long that consumers are now advised to inquire at the point of purchase whether the beef they're buying came from XL Foods.

E.coli bacteria was first detected at the XL plant in Brooks, Alta. on Sept. 4, but it wasn't until three weeks later that the CFIA suspended the plant's operating license until measures are implemented to ensure its products are safe.

At a family ranch near Airdrie, Alta., just north of Calgary on Sunday, Alberta Premier Alison Redford and the province's agriculture minister held meetings with local producers to discuss the potential effects of the plant's closure.

Redford stood behind the safety of Alberta meat.

"Our priority right now is to make sure people know Alberta beef is a safe product and a high-quality product, and to ensure that we get this plant open as soon as possible in compliance with CFIA regulations," Redford told reporters.

Liberal MP Ralph Goodale has blamed the E.coli scare on changes to the meat inspection system introduced by the Harper Conservatives.

But federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz insists food safety hasn't been compromised and says the government has more inspectors on the job than in previous years.

Redford acknowledged that people will want to know who did what, and when. But she said the most important thing is to restore confidence and reopen the XL facility.

"We stand behind our producers and we stand behind the product they produce. We certainly have a circumstance right now with respect to one company that is having challenges with respect to regulations," Redford said.

"But there is Alberta beef that is being produced right across this province today that is safe to eat."

While Alberta's oil industry has typically commanded many headlines in recent years, the beef industry is still a massive economic driver. …

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