Lawsuit against XL Foods gets settled

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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CALGARY, Alberta – A class-action lawsuit filed against XL Foods Inc. over a high-profile E. coli outbreak has been settled. The outbreak occurred in 2012 at XL Foods’ meat packing plant in southern Alberta and resulted in the largest meat recall in Canadian history — 2.2 million lbs. of beef in Canada and the US.

“We’ve reached an agreement on the class action subject to court approval,” Calgary lawyer Clint Docken, who is representing a handful of clients, said in a Canadian Press news report on July 16.

Compensation was set at $4 million, and a hearing will be held in the fall to formally approve the deal. The majority of the settlement will go to those who became ill after eating the contaminated meat. The actual number of claimants won’t be known for several months, according to the report. Payments could range from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars.

“People who suffered injury, particularly E. coli poisoning, as a result of consuming the meat are also potentially subject to a settlement as well,” Docken said. “There were some that suffered very serious illnesses and ended up with extensive hospitalization.”

In 2012, JBS USA assumed management of the XL Foods facility and later negotiated an exclusive option to purchase the beef packing plant.

Earlier this year, MEAT+POULTRY reported that documents obtained by CTV News, a Canadian news station, revealed food safety problems continued at the XL Foods processing facility two years after the recall.

For example, in October 2014, beef trim exported to the US tested presumptive positive for E. coli O157:H7. The agency said an application was submitted to return 18 bins of the beef for rendering in Canada or rendering within the US under a plan approved by the Food Safety and Inspection Service.
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