The operator of a Canadian meat processing plant has been fined C$125,000 after the company admitted that it sold E. coli-tainted meat in 2010, CBC News reported.
Pitt Meadows Meats pleaded guilty in the British Columbia Supreme Court on Monday to one count of selling meat unfit for human consumption. The company, which now trades under the name Meadow Valley Meats, also issued a statement of apology.
"Food safety is a priority in everything we do and we apologize for not fully following government procedures in 2010," the company stated. "We accept the decision of the court and pledge to do better."
According to the court's statement of facts, Pitt Meadows Meats sold 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds) of halal-labeled meat products in September 2010 before lab test results showed the presence of E. coli O157:H7. A plant manager allegedly decided not to recall the contaminated products because it was the end of Ramadan and there was an increase in demand for halal meat.
After a plant employee informed the Canadian Food Inspection Agency about the positive test result, federal inspectors shut down the facility for a month and issued a recall. They warned consumers that beef products from Pitt Meadows Meats may be contaminated with E. coli and should not be consumed.
No illnesses were reported in connection with the meat that was recalled.
Following the incident Pitt Meadows Meats gave up its federal license and became a provincially licensed facility.