Food Safety Magazine

News | February 11, 2013

Canada Appoints Expert Panel to Review XL Foods E. coli Outbreak

By Staff

The government of Canada has appointed an independent expert advisory panel to conduct a review of events and circumstances related to the XL Foods Inc. E. coli O157:H7 investigation and recall.

The review team includes recognized scientific, public health and industry experts:

• Ronald John Lewis who served as Chief Veterinary Officer and Director, Animal Health Branch for the Province of British Columbia from 1999 to 2009. In addition to many other activities, Dr. Lewis is the Chair of the panel.

• André Corriveau serves as the Chief Public Health Officer, Department of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories.

• Ronald Usborne who before retiring, was Vice-President of Quality Assurance, Food Safety, Caravelle Foods, and now continues using his considerable experience by offering consulting services to the food and supplier industries.

The review will carry out the following:

• Examine the events, circumstances, and factors that contributed to the E. coli outbreak in XL Foods Inc. products, including the design, implementation, and oversight of food safety preventative control programs, inspection policies and protocols, and information exchange between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and its food safety system partners, including XL Foods Inc. and foreign regulators;

• Consider whether the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or XL Foods Inc. could rea-sonably have detected the contamination prior to beef products entering into distribution and commerce; and

• Review the effectiveness of the response of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in light of the additional resources provided to it since 2006 by the Government of Canada, in conjunction with the response of its food safety system partners, including XL Foods Inc. and foreign regulators, to the E. coli outbreak, including but not limited to the effectiveness of their prevention, detection, recall response, incident management, and investigative activities, as well as their collaboration and communication with one another, the public, and stakeholders for the purpose of ensuring consumer safety.

Based on the findings and conclusions, the team will make recommendations, within the existing resources of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, to strengthen prevention strategies and regulatory oversight. In keeping with the Government's commitment to transparency, the final report and any recommendations will be made public once completed.