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Wetaskiwin meat shop at centre of deadly E. coli outbreak reopens
The Meat Shop at Pine Haven, a meat processing plant on a Hutterite colony south of Wetaskiwin, got the green light to sell pork again after health officials found no trace of E. coli contaminant.
On April 23, it had closed its pork processing operation after it was found to be the centre of a deadly E. coli outbreak, resulting in a series of pork product recalls throughout the province.
Alberta Health Services said a total of 42 cases have been confirmed, 13 patients were hospitalized and one person died from E. coli poisoning.
“We are totally doing everything we can do to make sure that these types of things don't happen again,” manager Tim Hofer said.
Hofer said the last five weeks has been “a difficult time” for the business and they have conducted their own internal review.
“Our investigation showed us it’s not a situation of a facility that’s not clean, processes that are not followed – it’s a situation of bacteria comes in with the very animal that you harvest the meat from,” he said.
He said the risk of E. coli is always there and they have strengthened their own procedures and processes to prevent a similar situation from happening.
Alberta Agriculture said all follow-up testing came up negative for E.coli.
The Meat Shop expects to have enough pork inventory for its wholesale customers in about two weeks.
With files from Bill Fortier