OTTAWA -- Government inspectors have linked Canada's latest E. coli outbreak to a recalled batch of Butcher's Choice-brand beef burgers sold across the country.
The strain of E. coli bacteria found in Butcher's Choice Garlic Peppercorn Beef Burgers was the same one that made five people sick in Ontario and Alberta, officials told a news conference Monday.
"All of this product was recalled from the marketplace between Dec. 12 and Dec. 15," said Paul Mayers, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's vice-president of programs.
The frozen burgers are sold at Loblaws stores across Canada.
Two other beef products -- Cardinal Select-brand Prime Rib Beef Burgers and Butcher's Choice Hickory Barbecue Beef Burgers -- have also been recalled, but they have not been linked to any cases of illness.
All of the beef in question was produced by Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd., based in Brampton, Ont.
E. coli infection can cause serious illnesses, but the five victims of the outbreak have either recovered or are recovering. Officials acknowledged knowing about E. coli cases in Canada as early as October, but said they were not in a position to issue any recalls.
"The identification of a case of illness with no source of the particular food associated, while it triggers investigations, cannot lead to a recall at that time," Mayers said.
-- The Canadian Press