A Salisbury-based company is trying to recoup substantial losses after its beef jerky was pulled from store shelves last week as part a massive beef recall over possible E. coli contamination.
No E. coli was found in Janet’s Old Fashioned Beef Jerky, but owner Janet MacLeod voluntarily took her product out of 120 stores across the province, as advised by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
"They suggested that we participate in the recall and we did so willingly as a precautionary measure. So, you do what's right and we felt like that was the right thing to do," MacLeod told CBC News.
CFIA has recalled more than 1,500 products from Alberta-based XL Foods Inc., due to possible E. coli contamination.
At least 15 cases of the potentially deadly bacterium have been confirmed — seven cases in Alberta, one in Newfoundland and Labrador, four in Quebec and three in British Columbia — according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Estimated $10,000 in losses
MacLeod started buying her beef from XL Foods this summer after she could not find adequate supplies locally.
She says XL has offered to pay some of her expenses, but contends she'll likely never recover the estimated $10,000 her company has lost due to the recall.
MacLeod said she is also worried the E. coli scare may have scared away some of her customers.
"The future is to tell how that recall will affect us. If it doesn't work, then I guess I will be out there looking for a job like a lot of other people," she said.
Janet's Jerky is back on some store shelves in Moncton and should be back in other stores across the province later this week.
"I am going to be collecting some of the recalled meat today, and in the coming days, as well as cooking new product and once that is done, I will try to replenish as many of the stores as I can," MacLeod said.
The XL Foods plant was shut down on Sept. 27.
Secretes powerful toxin
Escherichia coli, its full name, is a type of bacteria commonly found in the intestines of animals and humans. There are hundreds of strains of the bacterium, but E. coli O157:H7 secretes a powerful toxin that can destroy red blood cells leading to severe illness, high blood pressure and kidney damage.
Seven people died and more than 2,300 others fell ill in Walkerton, Ont., in May 2000, in Canada's worst-ever E. coli outbreak after the bacteria got into the town's water supply. The source of the contamination was manure spread on a farmer's field near one of the town's wells.
The main symptom for this strain of E. coli is bloody diarrhea, but it can also cause vomiting and stomach cramps. There is no fever.
Those most at risk of developing serious complications include pregnant women, young children, seniors and people with a weakened immune system, such as those on chemotherapy.