Local meat safe: butchers

By Ashley Joannou – Red Deer Advocate

It’s the talk around the deli counter.

The recent massive recall of meat products is leading more consumers to inquire about the history of their meat.

Two Central Alberta butchers, who sell only meat produced by local farmers, say they have been fielding questions ever since the recall of Maple Leaf Foods was announced last week.

“It’s definitely a hot topic,” said Ivan Smith, owner of Big
Bend Market in Red Deer.

“A lot of people have come in and they seem really relieved that they know exactly where their food came from.”

Smith, who opened the shop in Southpointe Common last year, said the size of his business means he has never had to rely on large companies to ship him meat.

“We are small enough that we don’t have to go to big companies to get our meat,” Smith said. “We support local farmers and I think our customers like that.”

At the Mad Butcher in Innisfail, signs have been put up assuring customers the store doesn’t sell any of the recalled

“People are definitely asking questions and I think that is a good thing,” said owner Ron Burnderd. “They’re becoming more aware of where their meat comes from and knowledge is always a good thing.”

The shop, which has been in Innisfail for five years, carries meat from farmers around Alberta and all the product is processed onsite.

Both Smith and Burnderd said it is too early to tell if their businesses will see an increase in customers as a result of the recall.

Maple Leaf Foods initiated its recall after Listeria bacteria were detected on some of the goods produced in one of its Toronto plants, but eventually pulled all products made at the facility from store shelves as the outbreak escalated.

Federal health officials say six people have died because of the outbreak while another six deaths remain under investigation. The deaths are among 26 confirmed cases in four provinces.

Federal lab tests have concluded that the strain of bacteria found at the Maple Leaf plant is linked to the outbreak, but CFIA officials and Maple Leaf executives say more testing is needed to determine whether the tainted meat directly contributed to any of the deaths.

The David Thompson Health Region is investigating whether three cases of listeriosis in the region are connected to the outbreak strain.

All three people have recovered.

A full list including product codes and best-before dates is available on the CFIA’s website www.inspection.gc.ca

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