Raw hamburger often contains E. coli or salmonella Bacteria, which is why it must be cooked to an INTERNAL temperature of 165 degrees. While it is fine to cook a steak by searing the outside, leaving the center almost rare, this is because the internal meat has not come into contact with bacteria. That is not true of “ground” meats, where surface meat is internalized in the process. Meatloaf is a tricky food for this reason. It is often hard to cook the inside sufficiently without burning the outside – and so many cooks take it out of the oven too soon. A cook can also get a reading of one part of the meatloaf that is hotter than the rest, leaving the cook to believe the meatloaf is safe.
Did something like this happen in Calgary at the shared kitchen used by the six impacted daycare centers? That is likely, says national E. coli attorney Ron Simon, who has represented thousands of E. coli victims over the last 20 years. “Cross contamination can introduce E. coli into the kitchen, and into the meat, and then it is mixed together with other ingredients and begins to replicate. Soon, an entire bath of meatloaf is contaminated, and it is not cooked thoroughly. The adulterated food was then served to one of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, children.” Ron Simon has filed numerous E. coli lawsuits to help track down the pathogen’s source, to identify what went wrong while manufacturing contaminated food, and to recover millions for his injured clients. Unfortunately, raw beef is often a conduit for E. coli food borne illness.
According to reports from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Alberta Health Services, the investigation is far from over, but at least the “culprit” has been identified. Meanwhile, the city of Calgary has announced plans to bring as many as 12 charges of the municipal code against Fueling Minds, Inc and directors Faisal Alimohd and Anil Karmin. A fine of up to $120,000 may also be assessed. According to Premier Danielle Smith, a former Calgary police chief, Rick Hanson, will be heading up a panel to investigate what happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future.
At present, there are 351 primary cases and 37 secondary cases, and at this time 4 children remain hospitalized.
Dr. Mark Joffe has stated: “We believe that meat oaf and vegan loaf meals that were served for lunch on Aug. 29 most likely contained the E. coli bacteria that led to these infections. Unfortunately, neither of these items could be tested as they were either eaten or discarded before this outbreak was identified. While we now have a likely source, what we do not know exactly is what was contaminated or how.”