The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has expanded a recall of pork-containing products in Alberta potentially contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

Janet French – Edmonton Journal

The recalls may expand further, Dr. Jasmine Hasselback, medical officer of health for the Edmonton zone of Alberta Health Services (AHS), said Thursday. Dozens of Alberta businesses bought products from the suspected source of contaminated meat, the owner has said.

As of Thursday, 36 people in Edmonton and surrounding areas had lab-confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7, including 11 who required hospitalization and one who likely died from the infection.

AHS and the CFIA want people to check their fridges and freezers for products purchased from K&K Foodliner at 9922 82 Ave. in Edmonton and Irvings Farm Fresh, a Round Hill, Alta., business that sells products at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market.

Owners say both shops made sausages and other products using pork from The Meat Shop at Pine Haven near Wetaskiwin, which health officials say is a source of the disease-causing bacteria.

Another Edmonton butcher shop, Acme Meat Market, also bought pork products from Pine Haven, and pulled the products from store shelves Thursday, owner Corey Meyer said.

None of the meat products sold at Acme has tested positive for the strain of E. coli in the outbreak, but shoppers need to be cautious, he said.

“It’s not nice. It’s scary. This affects a lot of consumers,” he said.

Another affected store was H & A Food Sales and Services in Alhambra, Alta.

On Wednesday night, the CFIA listed 11 recalled products from K&K Foodliner, and 37 recalled pork products from Irvings Farm Fresh. The items include sausages, sausage rolls, ham steaks, bratwurst, schnitzels and more.

Also recalled were 17 products from The Meat Shop at Pine Haven.

Alan Irving, who has run Irvings Farm Fresh with his wife since 2006, raises a heritage line of Berkshire pigs free range. A small operation, the Irvings also bought pork from Pine Haven to supplement sausages and other prepared meat products, he said Thursday.

Although tests on the Irvings’ pork came back clean, two of three sausage products tested were positive for the strain of E. coli in the outbreak. They recalled all products that could have come into contact with meat from Pine Haven, he said.

“For a small business, it’s potentially catastrophic,” he said, adding he has insurance that covers this scenario.

K&K Foodliner’s recall is the first the shop has issued in its 62 years in business, co-owner Bernie Krause said Thursday. The shop, which also buys pork from Pine Haven, helped health officials pin down the potential source of the outbreak, Krause said.

“It’s just crazy,” Krause said. “Holy smokes. It’s a serious thing. We take the health of our consumers (seriously) — we want to make sure that they’re getting the best product and the safest product.”

Meat shops like his are a “middle man” getting swept up in the outbreak, and he’s concerned it will affect his business and employees.

The CFIA warned Wednesday that eating recalled products could lead to illness, even if they look or smell fine. Consumers should throw out any products covered by the recalls, or return them to the store. Both Acme and K&K say they are refunding customers who bring in recalled products.

The first sign of the outbreak came last month when five people who had eaten at Mama Nita’s Binalot restaurant became ill. As the number of cases grew, AHS looked further afield for the source.

The main symptom of E. coli poisoning is diarrhea, which may be bloody. Sometimes, the infection can lead to kidney failure. The young, elderly, and immune compromised are particularly vulnerable to complications. Symptoms can show up from one to 10 days after eating contaminated food. AHS said anyone who falls ill and may have eaten the affected products should see a doctor and mention possible exposure to E. coli.

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