A $4 million class action settlement is available for anyone in Canada or the United States who suffered an economic loss or or physical illness or injury from beef recalled in 2012 by XL Foods in Brooks, Alberta. XLFoods_406x250Lawyers who filed the class action in 2013 said an Alberta court has approved the settlement amount and a protocol for distribution of the funds. The settlement ends the litigation with XL Foods, which does not admit any wrong doing or liability. An independent review found the 2012 outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that led to the largest beef recall in Canadian history was due to a lax approach to food safety on the part of XL Foods. The independent panel also said XL Foods was not prepared to handle a large recall. The series of events that led to XL Foods laying off 2,000 worker at Brooks on Oct. 13, 2012, began almost two months earlier with the first discovery of E. coli O157:H7 contamination on beef trim that was sourced by the plant. To re-open the Brooks plant, XL Foods ownership and control was turned over to JBS Food Canada Inc.. The number of confirmed E. coli O157:H7 cases reached 18, all Canadians. It is not known if any of those individuals are included in the class action. The amount of money available for both economic losses or physical illness or injury are both capped at $500,000. “The result of this case highlights the importance of food safety and holding companies accountable where they have failed to implement safe food processing and testing techniques,” said class action attorney Daniel Bach of Siskinds LLP. The deadline for filing a claim, which can be done online, is Aug. 17, 2016. Claims can be filed by people in the U.S. and Canada who purchased recalled XL beef or unidentified beef in late 2012. The most that will be reimbursed without receipts is $25. The class action alleges that XL Foods “negligently produced certain beef products processed at the Brooks facility.” The claim alleges that “XL Foods was negligent in the design and implementation of control, sampling and testing procedures and that, upon discovering the possible E. coli contamination, XL Foods was negligent in managing the resulting product recall.” About 1,800 beef products were included in the controversial recall. While it was underway, the Canadian Food Inspection Authority (CFIA) revoked the license of XL Foods to operate the Brooks plant. Equivalent to roughly 12,000 head of cattle, about 8 million pounds of beef, including one million pounds in the U.S., was recalled. The first beef was recalled before human illnesses were reported. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)