EDMONTON – On Sept. 3, an American health inspector discovered beef slaughtered and packaged at the XL Lakeside packing plant in Brooks, Alberta, and shipped south of the border for sale was infected with unusually high levels of E. coli.
The United States Food Safety and Inspection Service alerted its Canadian counterparts.
On Sept. 12, the Americans found more contamination in Lakeside beef. The next day, they decertified the Lakeside plant and blocked its exports to the U.S.
Not until Sept. 16, though, did the Canadian Food Inspection Agency finally issue a low-key public alert on this side of the border, warning Canadians not to eat, sell, or serve various ground beef products produced at Lakeside.
It issued no mandatory recall, but said XL had agreed to a voluntary one.