My friend the Buglady raised the question earlier – “USDA Issues Public Health Alert – What Took So Long?”  So, late tonight, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a Public Health Alert for raw boneless beef trim products imported from Canada that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

FSIS testing of raw boneless beef trim product from Canadian Establishment 38, XL Foods, Inc., confirmed positive for E. coli O157:H7 on September 3, 2012. FSIS alerted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) of the positive results. After follow-up testing by FSIS and CFIA, the CFIA announced a recall by XL Foods, Inc. of a variety of ground beef products on September 16, 2012. Subsequently, the CFIA has expanded the scope of the recall to include additional products.

The company has notified its customers, including (as yet unnamed) U.S. establishments that beef trim associated with the recall was shipped to them.

While the investigation continues, FSIS is issuing a Public Health Alert to inform food service operations and consumers. The products subject to the Canadian recall were distributed to U.S. establishments in the following states: California, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. At the U.S. establishments, these products may have been further processed into various products, such as ground beef, ground beef patties, beef jerky and pastrami.

Now there are press reports of a possible link to E. coli illnesses in Canada – “Beef recall expanded; Calgary family says child sickened by E. coli.”