A Canadian meat processor charged with 11 counts of selling food unfit for human consumption largely produced “halal” meat products for British Columbia’s Muslim population.
Pitt Meadows Meats made the news in 2010 when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) put out a public health warning about meats sold as Middle Eastern food products for fear of E. coli O157:H7 contamination.
Pitt Meadows Meats, located in Pitt Meadows, BC recalled a list of products with “halal” in their names. No illnesses were associated with that 2010 recall. In January 2011, Pitt Meadows Meats, Ltd. out of Canada’s federal inspection in favor of regulation only by the Province of British Columbia.
At that time, Pitt Meadows Meats was one of BC’s largest meat processing plants. When it dropped its federal inspection, CFIA was investigating the company for not immediately reporting lab reports it had received that were positive for E. coli O157:H7.
The charges now facing Pitt Meadows were based in part on the testimony of Daniel Land, who worked for the company as a quality assurance manger. Land turned whistleblower and told investigators the plant manager ordered him to keep quiet about the positive lab results in September 2010.
In statement to CBC News, a spokesman for Pitt Meadows says the company did not immediately notify CFIA about the lab results because it was conducting a second test. The spokesman apologized to customers for not initiating the recall sooner than it did.
A Feb. 4 appearance on the charges is scheduled for Pitt Meadows in BC’s Port Coquitlam Provincial Court.© Food Safety News