Premier Alison Redford stood up for the safety of Alberta beef on Sunday, as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency made dozens of additions to its list of products potentially contaminated by E. coli.
“We want to assure people that the quality of the product that is coming out of Alberta is good and safe and healthy,” Redford told reporters in Calgary after meeting with cattle producers.
Public safety is the top priority, Redford added, but the provincial government also wants to see the XL Foods plant in Brooks – which has a slaughter capacity of 5,000 cattle per day – re-opened as soon as possible.
David Chalack of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency said each day that passes with the plant still closed is damaging to producers.
“I’m not going to use the word crisis. I’m not going to use the word critical – yet. But it’s very concerning,” Chalack said.
Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson said he is regular contact with the federal government about the state of the plant.
He said XL Foods was shut down due to a “series of issues” and that “any one of them may not have been enough to justify the closure of a plant but collectively (they) created some concerns.
The CFIA list of recalled products is now so long that consumers are being advised to inquire at the point of purchase whether the beef they’re buying came from XL Foods.
– With files from The Canadian Press