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[lofo List] Canadian label may not mean Canadian beef
Canadian label may not mean Canadian beef
With fears of an E. coli contamination hitting some products sold in
Canada, consumers may be surprised to find out that fresh
beef may be sourced from outside the country
Thursday, Jul. 02, 2009 04:50PM EDT
Canadians who heard news last week of a major recall involving beef
products from the United States may have
felt assured the steak in their freezers was safe.
But as they found out, it's wrong to assume beef and other meat
products originate in Canada just because the
country has its own meat-producing industries.
Earlier this week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced a
recall involving a variety of President's
Choice beef products, including steaks, roasts and ground beef over
fears of E. coli contamination. The products
came from JBS Swift Beef Co., based in Colorado, and are part of a
larger recall that has been linked to at least
18 illnesses in numerous states.
While news of a food recall is hardly surprising – in recent weeks,
the CFIA has announced recalls on
everything from pistachios to salad greens to food made with peanut
products – many consumers were startled
to find out some fresh meat products sold by Canadian companies
actually originate in the U.S..
The recall is prompting new questions about sources of meat sold in
Canadian grocery stores, and whether
consumers have a right to know where the product originated.
Under current regulations, companies that sell fresh meat products,
such as ground beef, aren't required to
name the product's country of origin on the label, according to
several industry experts.
Inge van den Berg, senior vice-president of corporate affairs at
Loblaw Cos. Ltd., said Canadian farmers “are
always our first choice” when it comes to the company's meat supply
and that it only turns to U.S. suppliers
when demand peaks, as it does during summer months.
Metro Inc. typically uses beef products processed in Canada, but
sources from the U.S. when items go on sale to
supplement demand, said Marie-Claude Bacon, director of corporate
affairs. However, she couldn't say where
the animals originated – just that they were processed in this country.
Neither Ms. van den Berg nor Ms. Bacon would specify how much of the
meat sold at their stores originates
from Canada. Dennis Laycraft, executive vice-president of the Canadian
Cattlemen's Association, said that
regardless of their origin, meat products sold in Canada must meet
rigorous quality and safety standards. He
added that some companies may choose to label their products as
Canadian if they believe it will give them a
market advantage, but overall, products on the market are of a high
standard, no matter where they came from.
03/07/09 12:48 PM
Canadian label may not mean Canadian beef - The Globe and Mail
But as the local-food movement continues to gain steam, information
about a product and its origins is
increasingly important to consumers. In addition to supporting the
local economy, many consumers believe
that purchasing items directly from the farmer will result in a
fresher, less processed and even safer product.
There have been no reported illnesses in Canada associated with the
products involved in the current recall. The
President's Choice beef products were sold in Ontario, Quebec and the
Atlantic provinces from April 29 to June
For the full alert, go to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.
Daryl H. Hepting, Ph.D.
Associate Professor * Computer Science Department * CW 308.22
University of Regina * Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 0A2
firstname.lastname@example.org * http://www.cs.uregina.ca/~hepting
tel: (306) 585-5210 * fax: (306) 585-4745 * cell: (306) 596-6312
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