Dozens of people have joined a class-action lawsuit against XL Foods, the company at the centre of a national meat recall, according to a lawyer acting for a man became sick from E. coli after eating a steak from the company's plant in Brooks, Alta.
"We've had calls from British Columbia, I've had calls from Ontario and from Alberta," said Richard Mallett at a news conference with his client Matthew Harrison on Wednesday.
"So I think as the news gets out and people start to realize, 'Hey, I was really sick,' and they realize now that they had one of the contaminated beef products, or maybe they did, that they're talking to their doctors and giving us a call."
Harrison spent several days in hospital after eating the steak at a friend's home in Edmonton. He is the representative plaintiff in the class action lawsuit which must be certified by a judge before it can proceed
The lawsuit alleges that XL Foods was negligent in its testing, processing, storage and distribution of its products, that it failed to properly clean its equipment, did not train staff on proper food-handling techniques, and did not adopt the latest technology for testing beef products.
The court document claims that the company's actions were "without care and in disregard of the health of the Plaintiff and the other class members, and motivated by economic considerations such as maintaining revenue and market share."
The allegations in the statement of claim have not been proven in court.
So far, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has recalled more than 1,500 products processed at the XL Foods plant due to possible E. coli contamination.