As the Canadian Food Inspection Agency expands the XL Foods E. coli O157:H7 recall for the sixth time tonight, it was revealed CFIA first became aware of problems with the beef when tests conducted in the U.S. came back positive.
According to the Canadian Press, agency spokesman Garfield Balsom confirmed that word of the positive findings came from the Food Safety Inspection Service of the U.S. on Sept. 3, nearly two weeks before CFIA began issuing advisories about ground beef products produced at Edmonton-based XL Foods.
(For sticklers, the story identified FSIS as an agency of the U.S. Drug Authority; it’s part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.)
Balsom said XL initiated the recall on its own, insisting it was not ordered as a result of the U.S. test results.
“There were some positives identified by the FSIS, but the positives were not the trigger for the recall,” Balsom said in a telephone interview. “The recall was a voluntary recall by the company.”
So, what does trigger public notification in Canada?
If the product is imported, Canada goes public quickly; if it’s homegrown, they take their time.