B.C. meat plant covers up positive E-coli 0157 test result — CBCnews.ca report

From CBCnews.ca:

Pitt Meadows Meats is a meat processing plant located in Pitt Meadows, a city east of Vancouver. (Photo: Curt Petrovich/CBC)

“One of British Columbia’s largest meat processing plants covered up lab results that showed a sample of its product was contaminated with the deadly E. coli O157 strain, CBC News has learned.

The coverup came to light when Daniel Land, who oversaw the plant’s quality assurance, contacted CBC News, saying officials at Pitt Meadows Meats Ltd. told him to keep quiet about the positive test result obtained on Sept. 9.

“[The plant manager] said this does not leave the room … and I don’t want nobody talking about this,” said Land. “He crumpled [the test finding] up and threw it into my garbage can.”

Plant officials, however, say they didn’t report the test results because they suspected the whistleblower was trying to sabotage the plant and questioned his general sampling procedures. Officials also say later tests were negative for E. coli, suggesting the public was never in danger.

“Under normal circumstances, the CFIA would have been informed immediately,” the plant said in a written statement. “But due to the suspect sample handling, the decision was made to handle this issue in house. If the second test result would have been positive, the CFIA would have been notified immediately.”

Regulations require federally licenced plants to report positive findings of E. coli O157 strain to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

CFIA inspection manager Joseph Beres called the plant’s coverup a serious breach of regulations, but said no evidence of E. coli was found on subsequent tests of the plant’s products.

Land said a second test verified the preliminary findings of E. coli and he told a federal inspector at the site. “She cried because she says, ‘They’re covering it up?’ And I says, ‘Yes.’ And she said, ‘Same old story,'” said Land….”

Read the whole story on CBCnews.ca

6 Comments

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6 responses to “B.C. meat plant covers up positive E-coli 0157 test result — CBCnews.ca report

  1. thebovine

    Am I the only one thinking that maybe the health inspectors were too busy chasing raw milk while real problems like this were being neglected?

    • Kurtis

      I have little doubt that is true. That and a Health Authority that has in their own words a Limited Budget and not enough man power is devoting precious resources to hunting down those who chose to milk their own cows. No wonder they have to reduce health services and close hospital beds in the province. Look at the way they allocate funds.

  2. why the interest, at all? The website for the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control shows that when they go out into the community randomly sampling surfaces / products in food establishments, about 1/3 of them test positive for E. Coli and several other pathogens. But so what? When Mark McAffee – of Organic Pastures raw milk dairy – spoke in Burnaby in 2007, he emphasized that the environment is teeming with bacteria of all kinds. Mere presence of a given strain does not amount to a threat to the Public Health … unless, of course, it happens to be found in raw milk

  3. unless, of course, it happens to be found in raw milk
    That’s the line which matters.
    The arbitrary “hazard” approach is too obvious.
    I wonder if they get charged for “willingly and knowingly” causing harm.

  4. Rick Adam

    There are obviously different rules for each depending upon the depth of your pockets

  5. Noriko

    fyi. sequel of the story – basically they drop the federal license so that they don’t have to check the sanitary condition of the plant. welcome to bc.

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/01/20/pitt-meadows-.html?ref=rss

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