Beef recall raises concerns for B.C. customers

A nation-wide beef recall over fears of E-coli contamination is making some local consumers question how their beef is sourced.

Richard Noble, who runs a specialty butcher shop in Vancouver’s Dunbar area, says customers are curious about the recall.

"Quite a few people asking a lot of questions about where everything comes from, how it’s processed, what's gone on in Alberta, why it’s happened," he said.

"We try to explain that it’s a big operation and it’s a hygiene issue, basically cleaning is probably the issue."

Armando Bacani at Armando's Meats on Granville Island agrees more customers are asking questions.

"A few who come in and say, 'Armando where do you get your beef?' And we explain to them how we handle our product in-house."

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) expanded its recall of beef packed at a plant in Brooks, Alta., after nine cases of E. coli in Alberta were linked to the meat.

The list of stores and products affected by the recall is now so long that consumers are advised to inquire at the point of purchase whether the beef they're buying came from XL Foods.

The meat was processed at the Brooks facility — which processes a third of the country’s beef — between August 24 and 27, as well as Sept. 5.

Butchers say the recall shows the CFIA is looking out for consumers.

"I have to salute them for that," Bacani said. "I am still confident in the system."

Noble agrees the recall doesn’t mean the system is broken.

"They produce a lot of animals [in Alberta] and they do a fairly good job," he said. "It’s just some of these incidents happen every now and then, unfortunately."

The affected products are contaminated with the O157:H7 strain of E. coli. The beef may not look or smell spoiled, but could cause life-threatening illnesses.

Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. Some people may have seizures or strokes and some may need blood transfusions or kidney dialysis. In severe cases, people may die.

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