British Columbia

B.C. confirms 1st case of E. coli linked to XL Foods recall

Health officials in B.C. have confirmed a case of E. coli on Vancouver Island is linked to the XL Foods beef recall.

Health officials in B.C. have confirmed a case of E. coli on Vancouver Island is linked to the XL Foods recall.

In a written release, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control said the Nanaimo man has since recovered from the illness, and an investigation into the source is ongoing.

Because of patient confidentiality, officials won't release details about the man's age, how sick he got or what he may have eaten.

The B.C. CDC's Dr. Eleni Galanis says they see about a dozen E. coli cases a month, and are now trying to figure out if any of those are related to XL Foods beef.

"This outbreak has a particular strain of E. coli," she said. "It's a strain that's never been seen in North America before, so we require lab information in order to link the infected person to the outbreak."

This is the 11th E. coli case to be officially linked to beef products from the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alta., where E. coli was initially detected on Sept. 4. The XL plant, which handles 35 per cent of Canada's beef, remains closed.

On Sunday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency expanded the exiting beef recall list — which already included dozens of meat cuts, hundreds of products and singled out stores across Canada and the United States — to include three B.C. retailers: Africa Trading, Hanahreum Mart and Urban Fare.

The affected products were manufactured between Aug. 24 and 29 and Sept. 5.

 Consumers are reminded not to eat recalled products and to take precautions to prevent food-borne illness, including:

  • Cooking raw beef thoroughly to a final cooking temperature of at least 71 C.
  • Washing hands before and after cooking.
  • Keeping knives, counters and cutting boards clean.
  • Keeping raw meat separate from other foods when stored.
  • Refrigerating or freezing leftovers promptly.

Consumers are encouraged to check fridges and freezers for recalled items, which should be discarded or returned to the place of purchase.

E. coli can cause mild to severe symptoms including diarrhea and stomach cramps. Symptoms start an average of three to four days after exposure to the bacteria, and usually last between five to 10 days. It can lead to kidney failure and death, though this is rare.