Saskatchewan is reporting a spike in E. coli cases but is waiting for lab tests before linking them to the massive beef recall from an Alberta plant.
The Ministry of Health announced Tuesday that there were 13 reported cases of E. coli infection in the province last month.
The usual number for September is between zero and four.
“Public health authorities are investigating these cases and conducting tests to determine whether they are linked to the recall,” reads a government release.
“Laboratory results are expected within the next few days.”
Health officials were reminding consumers to cook beef thoroughly and to wash their hands when preparing food.
The warning comes after yet another recall of beef products from Alberta’s XL Foods.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said in a health hazard alert released overnight that dozens of additional products, including roasts and sausages, have been added to a long list of recalled beef.
The agency announced the expanded recall as it continues to investigate the Brooks, Alta., meat-packing plant, which had its licence temporarily suspended last week.
The CFIA is warning the public, distributors and food service establishments not to consume, sell, or serve any of the beef products on the list because they may be contaminated with E. coli.
The new additions are products sold in Ontario by The Kitchen Table, Zehrs, Your Independent Grocer and Valu-Mart, in Quebec by Entrepot de Viandes stores, by Brooks Meat Packers in Alberta, and Co-op, ValuFoods and Village Mart in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said in a health hazard alert released overnight that dozens of additional products, including roasts and sausages, have been added to a long list of recalled beef. -
Also added to the list are products from Real Canadian Superstore and Extra Foods stores across most provinces, along with many Dominion stores, Loblaws in Quebec, Real Atlantic Superstore in the Maritimes and Save Easy stores in the Atlantic provinces.
The entire list can be found on the website of the food inspection agency (at www.inspection.gc.ca).
The agency says consumers who are unsure if they have the affected beef in their home should check with the store where the product was purchased or throw it out.
There have been four E. coli illnesses associated with the consumption of beef products originating from XL Foods Inc.
The recall, which has been expanded several times over the past two weeks, has raised awareness of food safety issues in Canada as well as fears over the growing size and scope of the recall.
During question period in Parliament on Monday, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and acting Liberal leader Bob Rae accused the governing Conservatives of failing to alert Canadians about meat from the Alberta packing plant.
Rae drew a direct line between the XL Foods problem and several Canadian cases of E. coli poisoning, including that of a nine-year-old girl who suffered kidney failure as a result.
The Conservatives say their government has introduced new legislation to improve food safety and the CFIA’s ability to respond quickly to problems.
They also say they have added 700 food inspectors since 2006, 170 of them specifically for meat inspection.
E. coli O157:H7 is potentially deadly. Health officials say it can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and, in the most severe cases, kidney failure.