The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has again expanded its health hazard warning about ground beef products from XL Foods of Alberta over concerns about possible dangerous E. coli contamination.

The CFIA said early Thursday that Co-op stores in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Ontario, Sask., Yukon and the Northwest Territories also sold beef from XL Foods.

The meat was also sold in Presto and Club EntrepĂ´t stores in Quebec.

The initial warning covered some chains in Ontario, Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba, then grew to include Sobeys stores across Canada along with Foodland stores in Ontario and Atlantic Canada and Metro stores in Ontario and Quebec.

The meat was also available at Giant Tiger locations in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and at Northern stores in Alberta, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

The CFIA initially said the beef was sold under the Kirkland Signature brand in Costco stores and under the Safeway brand in at least five provinces.

Consumers are being warned not to eat, sell or serve the meat products.

And the list of retailers carrying the beef includes several corporate and franchised stores of Loblaw Companies Ltd., but not Loblaws stores themselves, says the company. Those stores include locations in Manitoba to British Columbia of:

  • Extra Foods.
  • No Frills.
  • Real Canadian Wholesale Club.
  • Shop Easy.
  • SuperValu.
  • Real Canadian Superstore.
  • Westfair.
  • Your Independent Grocer.

It also includes these stores in Ontario:

  • No Frills, Kenora.
  • Extra Foods in Marathon, Dryden and Geraldton;
  • Real Canadian Superstore in Thunder Bay;
  • Real Canadian Wholesale Club in Kenora and Thunder Bay.

No reported illnesses

The agency said there have been no reported illnesses associated with the ground beef.

Food contaminated with E. coli may cause serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses. Some people may have seizures, strokes or suffer kidney damage.

Balsom said an investigation is underway to determine how the beef may have been contaminated.

Michael Lupien, a spokesman for Sobeys stores from Dryden, Ont., to the B.C.-Alberta boundary, said the meat was quickly pulled from the shelf.

"There's a small impact of course to the business and customers have been inconvenienced and not able to get beef that they're looking for. But we expect to be back up fairly quickly with a different supply," Lupien said from Edmonton.

Lupien said Sobeys is offering consumers refunds or replacement products.

He did not know how many customers have gone directly to stores with concerns, but said there were about a dozen calls to Sobeys' call centre in Edmonton on Tuesday.

"I wouldn't call it a stampede, but we did have some customers who've contacted us concerned about the product that they've purchased," he said.

Safeway pulled the meat from store shelves Sunday and is telling customers to check too.

"Certainly people have gone ahead and looked into what products they still have in their fridges and freezers, so we have seen a good number of customers coming back into the stores," Safeway spokeswoman Betty Kellsey said from Calgary.

Safeway was also giving refunds or replacing the meat.

Kellsey said the impact on customers looking to buy ground beef should be minimal.

"Because in many of our stores we do have delivery on a daily basis, we're able to replace this product with new product and fresh product fairly quickly."