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$15M class action lawsuit launched over E. coli contamination

cbc.ca by Lydia Neufeld, April 27, 2018

An Edmonton law firm has filed a $15 million class action lawsuit against an Alberta meat shop at the centre of a recent E. coli outbreak.

James H. Brown & Associates announced in a news release Thursday it filed the suit against The Meat Shop at Pine Haven on April 26.

The outbreak is believed to be responsible for at least 36 poisonings and one death in the Edmonton area. 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency traced the pork products to the meat packing and retail operation, which is part of the Pine Haven Hutterite colony, 12 kilometres southeast of Wetaskiwin.

The lawsuit is on behalf of people who suffered damages as a result of buying or consuming pork products that may have been contaminated with E. coli, the firm said.

Among other things, the statement of claim alleges that Pine Haven was negligent with its quality control, monitoring, processing, storage, distribution and sale of the recalled pork.

It also states the company failed to recall all of its tainted pork immediately upon learning that customers were becoming sick.

A list of all the recalled products can be found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website. 

The manager of The Meat Shop told CBC that he feels terrible about the outbreak.

"We're more concerned about this than anybody," Tim Hofer said Wednesday.

The Meat Shop performed a thorough cleaning of all surfaces, he said, and has been reviewing its procedures since shutting down on April 18.

Hofer said the shop has never had an issue with contamination in the past.

Families from the Pine Haven colony also ate meat from the shop, he said, and didn't get sick.

The statement of claim filed by the law firm seeks compensation for physical injury, mental anguish, medical expenses, lost wages or employment income, as well as a refund for the cost of purchasing the recalled product on behalf of purchasers.

Statements of claim contain allegations not yet proven in court.