The public is being warned to check all ground beef products in their freezers as a growing country-wide recall due to possible E.coli contamination affects a number of brands.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says all the products — most of them frozen beef burgers — can be identified by the establishment number 761 and were produced between July 1, 2011 and Feb. 15, 2012.
The recall covers some 135 different beef products distributed under brand names which include President's Choice, Best Value, Calgary Stampede, Country Morning Gold, Exclusive Selections, Grillhouse, Irresistibles, Keg, Licks and Maple Lodge Farms.
The CFIA says there has been one related case of illness in Alberta which sparked a consumer complaint that triggered their investigation into the products.
CFIA food safety and recall specialist Garfield Balsom says the affected products came from a Saskatoon-based company named New Food Classics, but the agency used the establishment number as an identifier because the manufacturer's name doesn't appear on all products.
Mr. Balsom says New Food Classics has since gone into receivership and its plants are no longer operational.
Food contaminated with E.coli may not look or smell spoiled but can cause serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.
The products which may be contaminated were distributed nationally to retail stores, restaurants and institutions such as hospitals.
They may have a best before date from Jan. 1, 2012 up to and including Feb. 15, 2013 and a production code with a format of 11 JL 01 up to and including 12 FE 15.
The CFIA says their investigation is ongoing and as new affected products are identified, they will be added to a list on the agency's website.
The agency says it is working with retailers and distributors to recall all affected products from the marketplace and is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.
A full listing of the affected beef products can be found at the CFIA website.