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Health Alert Updated for Imported Canadian Beef

Health Alert Updated for Imported Canadian Beef

Trim and ground beef may also pose a health risk

September 27th, 2012 by James Limbach of ConsumerAffairs in News

It's more widespread than they thought. 

The Agriculture Department's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) say that, in conducting standard recall effectiveness checks of U.S. domestic establishments receiving beef from XL Foods, Inc. (Canadian Establishment 038), the agency discovered that whole muscle beef cuts produced on the same production dates as beef subject to recall in Canada were being used to produce raw ground products. 

Specifically, FSIS discovered that sub-primal materials (i.e., beef short ribs) produced on the same production dates as beef subject to recall in Canada were being used by a U.S. facility to manufacture other products and that the beef short ribs were being trimmed in order for the trim to be used to make ground beef.

Expanded recall 

FSIS says it has reason to believe, based on information provided by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), that beef from cattle slaughtered during the period associated with the recall was produced under insanitary conditions. That resulted in a high event period (a period when the trim from carcasses exhibited an unusually high frequency of positive findings for the possible presence of E. coli O157:H7). 

Therefore, all products that are non-intact, such as trim and ground beef subject to the recall, as well as all cuts of beef that will be processed into non-intact product, are considered adulterated. 

Because FSIS now has evidence gathered through its effectiveness checks that whole muscle cuts were being used to produce ground beef, it is working to make the public aware that product from these cuts are also are considered adulterated unless they receive a full lethality treatment capable of eliminating E. coli O157:H7 that may be present. 

FSIS testing of raw boneless beef trim product from Canadian Establishment 038, XL Foods, Inc., confirmed positive  for E. coli O157:H7 on September 3, 2012. After alerting the CFIA of the positive results, the agencies launched an investigation including additional testing, and CFIA announced a recall by XL Foods, Inc. of a variety of ground beef products on Sept. 16. FSIS also issued a Public Health Alert (PHA) on September 20, 2012, provided updated information on September 21, 2012, conducted effectiveness checks this week, and notified the public once more through today's PHA. The CFIA has expanded the scope of the recall to now include the production dates of Aug. 24, Aug. 27, Aug. 28 and Aug. 29, 2012 and FSIS has determined that a slaughter date of August 23, 2012 is common to all four production dates.