Beef recall affects whole cuts, more stores

Beef products sold by 12 Thrifty Foods stores became part of Canada’s largest-ever beef recall

Beef whole cuts have been recalled, leaving Island suppliers and customers scrambling.

Beef products sold by 12 Thrifty Foods stores became part of Canada’s largest-ever beef recall Sun., Sept. 30, when the XL Foods plant recall was expanded to include whole cuts of beef.

While not usually supplied by XL Foods, these 12 stores — which included the Island’s Tuscany Village, Hillside, Admirals Walk, Central Saanich, Quadra/Cloverdale  and Duncan stores, along with Tsawwassen, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, North Vancouver and Salt Spring Island — purchased approximately 700 kilograms of whole cuts of beef during the recall period due to a shortage from their regular supplier, Cargill, says Ralf Mundel, director of marketing and communications at Thrifty Foods.

“Cargill is our core beef supplier, by far. From time to time there are shortages in the marketplace and we look to third-party distributors to find us another source,” says Mundel. “In this particular case, two out of three of our third-party distributors sourced the XL product. We take our direction from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, so it was safe to purchase and therefore we brought it into the system.”

At the time of the purchase, the XL recall was only on ground-beef products, which Thrifty Foods never purchased.

Thrifty then took the whole cuts they purchased and turned them into various beef products, including ground beef, processed in their own facilities.

“The [original] recall was only being expanded to include ground beef. When it turned to whole cuts, that’s when we acted,” says Mundel.

At the time of the Sept. 30 recall, approximately 500 kilograms of the affected meat was still in coolers in the back rooms of the various stores. About 200 kilograms had been processed and was either for sale on shelves or purchased by customers.

“It’s not just Thrifty Foods,” says Mundel. “It’s any retailer — the whole food security system in Canada. We at Thrifty Foods use federally-inspected plants for the reason that if something is authorized for sale at a federally-inspected plant, we have to have the security and knowledge that that product is safe to consume.

“From time to time things happen and that’s why we have the national recall system. If it’s not being recalled, it is still safe to consume regardless of which plant it is coming from. If we were second guessing everything, the whole system would collapse.”

Meat is also being recalled from some Save-on-Foods, Walmart and Safeway stores across B.C, as well as a long list of other retailers across the country.

For more information, visit inspection.gc.ca. M

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