Union speaking out about food safety concerns at XL Foods

The union representing workers at the XL Foods facility in Brooks says plant officials are ignoring their concerns about food safety.

Doug O'Halloran, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401, says managers will not meet with them to discuss outstanding issues.

He says cleanliness and safety need to be the priority.

The union is holding a news conference Wednesday, along with the Alberta Federation of Labour just one day after the owners issued a statement saying they have corrected all problems outlined by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Meantime, one top researcher believes those who have gotten sick from eating contaminated meat will need to be monitored for several years.

Dr. William Clark studied the long-term effects of E. coli infection after the massive outbreak in Walkerton, Ontario, more than a decade ago.

Clark believes those individuals will be at risk for long-term health problems moving forward.

But many Albertans appear to be unfazed about E. coli and are still willing to back the beef industry.

A Sun News online poll found 60 per cent of respondents are comfortable with eating beef in the midst of the nation's largest meat recall.

Twenty-four per cent said they're not eating beef; 16 per cent say it depends on how it's prepared and if it's on the CFIA's recall list.

E. coli was first detected at the Alberta plant on September 4th and the first public health alerts were issued 12 days later.

Twenty countries have received affected products, including the United States where officials estimate more than 1.1-million kilograms have crossed the border.

660 News, Oct. 10, 2012

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