Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason accused Premier Alison Redford and her agriculture minister of making "dangerous" and "irresponsible" statements about the safety of beef in light of one of the largest meat recalls in the country's history.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has recalled hundreds of products from the XL Foods meat processing plant in Brooks, Alta., because of E. coli contamination.
On Sunday, Redford and Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson said the province's beef was still safe to eat, statements that Mason characterized as damage control for the beef industry.
"I'm absolutely stunned that they would go in front of the media and blandly tell Albertans that meat is safe to eat when we're in the middle of the largest recall in Alberta history because the meat is contaminated," Mason said at a news conference on Monday.
"It is in my view the most foolish and irresponsible statement about food safety since 'shoot, shovel and shut-up,'" Mason added, referring to the infamous remark made by former premier Ralph Klein during the height of the BSE crisis in 2003.
Mason hopes the XL plant can re-open soon and that there are enough inspectors to ensure that it has been cleaned up.
"Until that happens, bland statements about 'Alberta beef is safe' are uncalled for, inappropriate and even dangerous," he said.
Mason says he has thrown away the beef he had at home in his refrigerator.