Illnesses spur Toronto beef plant’s burger recall

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Burgers made in Toronto for retail sale under Sobeys’ in-house Compliments brand have been pulled from stores due to six cases of illness among Ontario consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on Wednesday issued a health hazard alert asking the public not to eat certain Compliments brand Super 8 Beef Burgers, citing possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7.

A spokesman for Ontario’s health ministry said Thursday there have been six confirmed cases of illness in that province associated with the beef in question. Of the six people, four were hospitalized; of the four, one is still in hospital. All are recovering, the ministry said.

The burger processor, Belmont Meats, has voluntarily recalled the product, in the wake of what CFIA calls a “recent outbreak investigation.” The recall may widen as the food safety investigation at the Belmont plant continues, the agency said.

The alert so far is limited to the Compliments Super 8 burgers sold in packages of six eight-ounce burgers, and covers all best-before dates for that product. The packages display the Belmont facility’s “Canada 112″ inspection mark and the UPC code 0 55742 37055 3.

The burgers in question were distributed in Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador in Sobeys banner stores, which “might include” Sobeys, Foodland, FreshCo and Price Chopper, CFIA said.

The onsets of the six cases of illness in Ontario were between Aug. 16 and Sept. 15, the provincial ministry said.

Nova Scotia’s provincial chief public health officer, Dr. David Strang, said in a separate release Thursday there have been “no confirmed or suspected” E. coli cases so far in that province related to the burgers in question.

Food contaminated with O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled, CFIA said. Strang advised consumers who have the specific product in their fridges or freezers to throw it out.

Among people sickened by O157:H7, symptoms can range in severity from abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea through to permanent kidney damage or death. – AGCanada.com Network