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Expert panel to review XL Foods E. coli outbreak


February 11, 2013
By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

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Feb. 11, 2013, Ottawa, ON – Canada’s food safety system remains among the best in the world, but events such as the XL Foods Inc. beef recall that occurred in September and October of 2012 underscore the importance of ongoing review and continuous improvement.

As a result, the Government of Canada has appointed an Independent Expert Advisory Panel to conduct a review of events and circumstances related to the XL Foods Inc. E. coli O157:H7 investigation and recall.

The review team includes recognized scientific, public health, and industry experts. The team consists of Dr. Ronald Lewis (Chair), Dr. Ronald Usborne, and Dr. André Corriveau.

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The review will carry out the following:

(i) examine the events, circumstances, and factors that contributed to the E. coli outbreak in XL Foods Inc. products, including the design, implementation, and oversight of food safety preventative control programs, inspection policies and protocols, and information exchange between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and its food safety system partners, including XL Foods Inc. and foreign regulators;

(ii) consider whether the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or XL Foods Inc. could reasonably have detected the contamination prior to beef products entering into distribution and commerce; and

(iii) review the effectiveness of the response of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in light of the additional resources provided to it since 2006 by the Government of Canada, in conjunction with the response of its food safety system partners, including XL Foods Inc. and foreign regulators, to the E. coli outbreak, including but not limited to the effectiveness of their prevention, detection, recall response, incident management, and investigative activities, as well as their collaboration and communication with one another, the public, and stakeholders for the purpose of ensuring consumer safety.

Based on the findings and conclusions, the team will make recommendations, within the existing resources of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, to strengthen prevention strategies and regulatory oversight. In keeping with the Government’s commitment to transparency, the final report and any recommendations will be made public once completed.

For more information on the panel review team please visit http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/consumer-centre/food-safety-investigations/xl-foods/advisory-panel/eng/1360360148361/1360360313541