Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

This is an update to the previous blogs:

Here is an excerpt of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) wrap-up of the E. coli O157:H7 Food Safety Investigation on Belmont Meats.

Investigation of Belmont Meats

The CFIA food safety investigation into Belmont Meats was guided by preliminary epidemiological information and included the collection of samples and analysis of production, testing and inspection data. Health Canada subsequently used this information to support its health risk assessment. The Agency did not identify any food safety deficiencies at the facility.

Sampling and Recall Activities

Because the epidemiological investigation did not identify specific lot codes of Compliments brand Super 8 beef burgers potentially implicated with these illnesses, the CFIA initially sampled and tested all twelve lot codes of Super 8 burgers produced by Belmont Meats in 2013. Of these twelve lot codes, the CFIA reported four positive samples for E. coli O157:H7 that were produced on May 11, July 5, August 27 and September 4, 2013. Three of the positive results had genetic fingerprints identical to the main outbreak strain while the other positive result had a genetic fingerprint identical to another cluster of illnesses.

Once Health Canada had completed a health risk assessment request by the CFIA for, Belmont Meats initiated a voluntary recall on October 2, 2013 of all twelve lot codes of Super 8 beef burgers produced in 2013.

The CFIA continued to trace back the origins of all four E. coli O157:H7 positive results, sampling burger ingredients and finished burger products that contained the same or similar ingredients used to manufacture the Super 8 burgers that tested positive. The CFIA reported two additional positive samples produced on August 26 and September 4, 2013, prompting the recall to be expanded on October 20 and 22, 2013. These two positive products and their associated genetic fingerprints, however, were not associated with any known illnesses. The CFIA conducted further tests on products to make sure that no other affected product was on the market.

In total, the CFIA tested over two thousand samples of Super 8 beef burgers; no additional positive results were reported.

Source of Contamination

Despite extensive testing, the CFIA could not determine the source of the contamination. In addition, the Agency did not determine any food safety concerns during its investigation at either Belmont Meats or their meat suppliers.

In addition, there were no additional illnesses or epidemiological information that could help focus the investigation on specific ingredients, suppliers or events that may have caused these illnesses.

Follow-up

Belmont Meats is working to address various non-food safety related issues of non-compliance within accepted timelines.

Please click here for the complete wrap-up of the above CFIA’s investigation.

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