As the result of a widening and ongoing Canadian Food Inspection Agency investigation into Escherichia coli, better known as E. Coli contamination in certain frozen beef products, The North West Company, headquartered in Winnipeg, which owns and operates Giant Tiger, Northern and NorthMart stores in Thompson and throughout Northern Manitoba, said March 15 as a "precautionary measure" it had pulled all frozen Best Value Beef Burgers in one and two-kilogram boxes from its grocery shelves.
On March 17, due an expanding Canadian Food Inspection Agency investigation into E. Coli in certain frozen beef products, an expanded recall has been issued for all ground beef products from Establishment 761 (New Food Classics) that were manufactured between July 1, 2011 and Feb. 15 because the products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.
All ground beef products manufactured from Establishment 761 (New Food Classics) have been removed from all Giant Tiger West, Northern and NorthMart stores.
The products that were manufactured by Establishment 761 (New Food Classics) between July 1, 2011 and February 15, 2012 can be identified by the following:
Bearing a Best Before date from BB 2012 JA 01 up to and including to BB 2013 FE 15;
Bearing a 5 digit Lot Code where the last four digits are 1831 or greater. Bearing a Best Before date from BB 2012 JA 01 up to and including to BB 2013 FE 15;
Bearing a 5 digit Lot Code where the last four digits are 1831 or greater.
Loblaw Companies Limited, of Brampton, Ont., which operates under the Extra Foods banner with its grocery store in Thompson Plaza, is also effected by the recall. Craig Ware, director of corporate affairs for Western Canada for Loblaw in Calgary, said, "the store did sell no name 12 Beef Burgers and no name Club Pack Beef Steakettes, which fall under this recall notice. As soon as the recall was issued, the store immediately pulled all affected product from their shelves. Customers who may have affected product should not consume it but return it to the Extra Food store where it was purchased for a complete refund."
The North West Company's action came after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued an "expanded health hazard alert" March 14 to include the Best Value Beef Burgers manufactured by New Food Classics in Burlington, Ont.
The company is "warning customers not to consume frozen Best Value Beef Burgers, 1kg and 2kg boxes, with the product codes: 72991, 82991, 53011, 63011, 73011, 83011, due to potential contamination of E. Coli 0157:H7," said Connie Tamoto, manager of corporate communications for The North West Company, while adding "we want to assure customers that there have been absolutely no illnesses associated with our product."
Tamoto said, "In addition, we have taken proactive steps to remove all other products made by the same manufacturer – New Food Classics."
Customers who purchased the products can return them to any Giant Tiger West, Northern or NorthMart store for a full refund with or without receipt. The frozen Best Value Beef Burgers, 1kg and 2kg boxes have a best before date of Oct. 26 and 28, 2012.
This the latest in a long and expanding list of voluntary recalls for meat products made by New Food Classics since Feb. 18. "Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled," the Canadian Food Inspection Agency warns, but "consumption of food contaminated with these bacteria my cause serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhoea. Some people may have seizures or strokes and some may need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis. Others may live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die."
Theodor Escherich first described E. coli in 1885, as Bacterium coli commune. It was later renamed Escherichia coli.
Up to 15 percent of children infected, and a much smaller proportion of adults, develop Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). This is a type of kidney failure and blood disorder.
Most people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent kidney and other organ damage and complications, or may die.
There has been one reported illness associated with the consumption of these products, the agency warns.