Summerside butcher seeing increase in sales, lots of calls

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Summerside Butcher Shop employee JP Gallant was busy Friday afternoon cutting sirloin tip steaks off Island beef. The shop has been busy with the recall of beef products from Alberta’s XL Foods Inc.

SUMMERSIDE — A nation-wide recall of beef products from an Alberta processing plant has been a boost for a Summerside butcher.

Kevin Wile owns Summerside Butcher Shop where he sells only Island beef from Atlantic Beef Products in Albany.

Over the past two days his phone has been ringing off the hook with Islanders concerned over the recall and looking to purchase locally grown and produced beef.

“We’re swamped,” said Wile early Friday afternoon. “We are getting a lot of phone calls. I am sure it is going to turn people off beef but our beef is all from the beef plant in Borden so it’s not affected. It’s scary. People are really paying more attention to what they are eating and what they are buying.

“I think it is going to be good for us.”

The recall of beef products from XL Foods Inc. is the largest food recall in Canadian history.

In the past two days alone dozens of products have been added to the growing list, which is available on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website.

The meat being recalled could be contaminated with a bacterial strain of E. Coli and started with ground beef. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has since made several additions to the growing list, which now includes more than 1,500 products.

Some of the products were sold in stores across on Prince Edward Island.

Consumers are being asked to get rid of any of the beef products on the agency’s list since, noted the agency, E. Coli can cause serious even life-threatening illness.

Wile had one woman call his store Friday who threw out all the meat in her freezer and was coming to his Summerside location to purchase $300 worth of meat.

“All day that’s all we are taking is phone calls asking ‘is your beef OK’.”

Since he opened the business, first on Water Street and then earlier this year to a larger facility on Central Street, Wile has carried only beef from the Atlantic Beef Products facility.

“We have some of the best beef around. You talk to any of the top chefs like Mark McEwen or Michael Smith, they all rave about the beef that is produced here on P.E.I.,” he added. “That’s why we carry it. It’s good quality stuff.”

Wile does have a loyal and steady clientele but admitted to seeing new faces in his business over the past few days.

During a stop into the shop mid-afternoon there was a steady stream of people going through the doors, many asking about origin of the beef in the display case.

“We’re so busy as it is right now and we don’t have a lot of staff. If we start advertising too much we will just turn people away,” he added. “We’re letting people know that it is local beef. It sure opens your eyes.”

It was so busy Friday Wile had to get more beef trucked in from the Albany plant.

“That plant (XL Foods) produced a third of North America’s beef and they are saying now that plant may not even open again. What’s that going to do? Drive prices up, that’s all it is going to do,” he added. “This past week we would have bought a lot of beef, close to $40,000 worth of beef alone from the beef plant. I had to send my truck out today to get two pallets of beef to get us through until Tuesday.”

Wile said while there are many who only buy local beef others based their decision on where to buy beef on price.

“Everybody is on a budget. When the grocery stores advertise cheap stuff people are tempted to buy it,” he added. “People do like to know where it is coming from. They are watching. There are more and more people switching over.”

Organizations: Atlantic Beef Products, XL Foods Inc., Canadian Food Inspection Agency Summerside Butcher Shop

Geographic location: Summerside, Alberta, Iceland Borden Prince Edward Island.Consumers Water Street Central Street Albany North America

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Recent comments

  • Billy
    October 08, 2012 - 06:12

    Just seen a report on CBC that most meat shops in the provinces are inspected Provincially, not Federally; depending on their size. So I ask, how many meat inspectors does PEI have. Be careful out there at those local butcher shops.

  • Karen
    October 07, 2012 - 06:55

    Was in that store and asked whether their meat was triple A. Answer: it doesn't matter its the amount of fat in the steak that counts. I went elsewhere.

  • Glen from North York
    October 06, 2012 - 18:23

    Talking about sanitation, with regards to this article... Just how sanitary, and within Health Codes is it to place a telephone on a cuttting food preparation area???

    • Ulfric
      October 07, 2012 - 10:34

      And no apron. removable attire would help not spread anything that can turn to bacteria throughout the shop, personal vehicle. Get it in the car and bacteria spreads and your clean clothes the next day aren't so clean

  • Inspections
    October 06, 2012 - 18:18

    How often are the small local shops inspected? Can't be any more often than the larger ones. E-coli has nothing to do with freshness of the beef.

  • Celine
    October 06, 2012 - 09:00

    Canada's FOOD And Drug Inspection Agency is dangerous to Canadians safety, an embaresment compared to the U.S.A & Great Briton.

  • Islandwoman
    October 06, 2012 - 08:07

    The Co-op stores also sell delicious Island Beef. Buy local.

      October 08, 2012 - 10:42

      Show me one Co-op store that advertises Island beef.BTW, it's not Island beef, it's Maritime beef. The plant just happens to be on the Island. That doesn't make it Island beef.The Co-ops are not known for the quality of their beef either.

  • support
    October 06, 2012 - 06:41

    I support the island beef industry. keep the butcher shop & borden beef plant clean. i;m serious this is our chance to stand behind our beef producers which we should always be doing not just in a time of crisies. i hope the butcher shop will continue to remind residents of this. this is where our goverment could help by advertising good food right here on pei. big is not always beautiful. it;s b--- s--- that you need to process large volumes to survive. let the less safe conscience continue to shop at sobeys,price chopper,etc . clearley you can see that we can buy safe food at competitive prices. come on geo. webster step up and make a comment you're always babbling about something or has no one written a speach for you to address this. good luck butcher block.

      October 07, 2012 - 07:22

      Another one looking for government handouts. What is wrong with the beef industry doing it's own advertising? Do you think Labatt and Molson's wait for the government to pay for their advertising? That's what's wrong with Islanders, they think they are entitled and the government should do everything for them. I suggest the Harper government should require everyone on EI to read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead over the winter while they sit idly by collecting their welfare handout. (pogey)

  • Jeannie Cameron
    October 05, 2012 - 20:34

    Love the Butcher Block, crazy how much cheaper EVERYTHING is in there compared to the grocery stores.

      October 05, 2012 - 21:06

      Like I have said many times in the past, no one advertises Island beef, so how are we to know where to buy it. This butcher says he doesn't want to advertise because he would sell to much and have to turn people away. Why would any retailer say he doesn't want the extra business. Doesn't make any sense.