Deaths Link to Tainted Roast Beef in Canada

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Deaths Link to Tainted Roast Beef in Canada

TORONTO and OTTAWA -- The Canadian federal government confirmed a listeria bacteria outbreak is responsible for the deaths of six people and is suspected in the deaths of six others.

While the deadly bacteria has been linked back to roast beef from a Toronto processing plant used by Maple Leaf Foods, the government said the outbreak is not yet fully contained. As a result, a recall order now includes all 220 products made at the Toronto plant. Until the source is officially identified, food suppliers in Alberta and Saskatchewan, which serve Safeway and Alimentation Couche-Tard’s Mac’s Convenience stores, have stopped delivery of products as a precaution.

The Globe and Mail reported Calgary-based Lucerne Foods announced a recall of several of its sandwiches containing meat products that were included in Maple Leaf’s third recall in seven days. David Ryzebol, vice-president of public affairs for Canada Safeway Ltd., of which Lucerne is a subsidiary, told the paper the company withdrew 12 kinds of sandwiches distributed to Safeway stores in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and 15 that were distributed in Mac’s Convenience stores across Alberta.

"This is a very serious food-safety concern, but everyone has acted very quickly in our company, so we’ve done everything we can to mitigate any of the problem," Ryzebol told the paper.

Atlantic Prepared Foods Limited and Metro Ontario Inc. also voluntarily recalled sandwiches that may contain some of the Maple Leaf meat products, a spokesperson said in a statement.

Atlantic recalled Irving, Sub Delicious and Needs brand sandwiches, sold throughout New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Metro Ontario removed three sandwiches from its Fresh 2 Go brand from selected A & P and Dominion locations across the province.

Maple Leaf remains confident the air-borne bacterium is isolated in its Toronto plant, where it is believed to have originated, a company spokeswoman told the Globe and Mail.

In a statement, Maple Leaf noted only its Sure Slice roast beef and corned beef had tested positive for listeria, and that recalling the other products, used by companies such as Mr. Sub, McDonald’s and food-supply companies across the country, was done as a precautionary measure.