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Independent advisory panel appointed to review XL Foods beef recall and E. coli outbreak

OTTAWA- The federal government is launching a review into one of the biggest beef recalls in Canadian history.  

An independent expert advisory panel has been appointed by the Government of Canada to review the events and circumstances surrounding the massive XL Foods Inc. E. coli outbreak and beef recall that occurred in September and October of 2012.

The panel, which is made up of scientific, public health, and industry experts, will review the following criteria:

1) 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;

2) 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

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3) 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.

The government says Canada’s food safety system is among the best in the world, but events such as the XL Foods recall shows the importance of continuous improvement.

“We take the safety of Canada’s food supply very seriously, and we remain committed to the continuous improvement of Canada’s strong food safety systems that allow Canadian consumers to shop with confidence,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a media release Friday.

The panel consists of Dr. Ronald Lewis, Dr. Ronald Usborne, and Dr. André Corriveau.

The results of the review will be made public. The team of experts will made recommendations based on its findings and conclusions.

For more information on the panel review team, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website.

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