Cattle stand in a pasture beside the XL Foods beef plant in Brooks, Alberta. (CP)

Cattle farmers will be the ones most hurt by the largest beef recall in Canadian history, says Liberal MP Wayne Easter, and he blames Ottawa's food inspection system.

The P.E.I. MP is accusing Ottawa of negligence in dealing with the E. coli cases linked to the XL beef plant in Alberta.

"This is a government that is still failing to live up to its responsibility for food safety in Canada. We are affected internationally," said Easter, who is also the Liberal's international trade critic.

"As a beef producer who emailed me last night said, 'Look Wayne, this is the first year since 2003 that prices have actually improved since BSE. We were looking to a good year. Now our international reputation is in tatters.'"

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was at the plant Wednesday morning where a full contingent of inspectors and staff are examining all product and procedures. Ritz said the CFIA has also deployed additional resources to the plant, which remains closed.

The health and safety of Canadians is the government's first priority, he said.