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Vancouver Island patient investigated in B.C's. first possible case of E. coli poisoning from recalled beef

Oct 07 2012
XL Foods Lakeside Packers plant at Brooks, Alta., on Monday, Oct. 1st, 2012. 

XL Foods Lakeside Packers plant at Brooks, Alta., on Monday, Oct. 1st, 2012.

Photograph by: Larry MacDougal , THE CANADIAN PRESS

Public health officials are investigating one poisoning case in B.C. that may be linked to contaminated beef from an Alberta plant.

A spokeswoman for the BC Centre for Disease Control said it’s waiting for the results of genetic testing on a single case that might be linked to meat from the Alberta facility.

“We are looking at one case,” Carol Swan said, “but there’s no match yet to meat from the beef recall.”

B.C. government officials said the patient was initially treated by the Vancouver Island Health Authority. No information on that patient’s food history or the severity of their illness or when they became sick was immediately available.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed Friday that it had matched a Newfoundland patient’s illness to the specific strain of E. coli in meat produced by XL Foods Inc.

Beef that may have become tainted with the potentially-fatal bacteria was slaughtered on Aug. 23 and processed over the five days that followed. Canada’s Food Inspection Agency was unaware that any of it had escaped detection until it learned on Sept. 4 that two shipments — one at the U.S border and another at an unidentified Calgary plant — had tested positive.

Another 12 days passed before the agency issued a public health alert and the company began a voluntary recall. More than 1,800 products and an estimated 1.4-million kilograms of products have now been recalled from restaurants and grocery shelves across the country and in 41 U.S. states.

Alberta’s health authority is investigating nine cases, including five people who attended an Edmonton barbecue and ate steaks containing bacteria that matched that found in meat produced by XL Foods.

In Saskatchewan, authorities are investigating 13 cases of illness, including three where the patient’s food history indicates they consumed beef that has since been recalled.

With files from Postmedia News


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