New Food Classics applied for bankruptcy protection on January 17, 2012. The ground beef producer and its associated companies are in liquidation.

On February 15th (according to a report filed with the Court), the company learned that a case of E. coli O157:H7 illness had been linked to the consumption of frozen hamburger manufactured in October 2011 at New Food Classics’ production facility (Establishment Registration Number 761, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan). Three days later, the company recalled 3,800 cases of frozen hamburger products. On February 22nd, the company and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that another 767 cases of product had been added to the recall list.

Since then, Canadians have been subjected to a continuing trickle of additional recall notices and Health Hazard Alerts. These culminated yesterday (March 17th) in an announcement that the earlier public warnings were now extended to all ground beef products manufactured at Establishment 761 from July 1, 2011 to February 15, 2012. This represents approximately 1.25 million cases of ground beef products (the company produced some 2 million cases annually, according to the bankruptcy filing).

There is still only one reported illness associated with the consumption of these recalled beef burgers; however, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has not yet finished querying the various Provinces and Territories. So far, neither PHAC nor CFIA have responded to my email requests for additional information on the illness investigations.

The company’s Saskatoon facility (Establishment 761) is now described as “Temporarily Inactive” on the CFIA List of Federally Registered Meat Establishments. It had been operating under a number of different business names, including: New Food Classics, The Foodservice Company, Over The Edge, Grillhouse, BBQ Perfect, Ground & Browned, Bento, Oven Perfect, Absolute Favourites, Micro Perfect, Canadian Gourmet, Pubpan, Mastercut, Super Club and Recipe Ready.

CFIA has not yet released a complete list of brand names, package sizes and formats covered by its most recent Health Hazard Alert, but will do so as the information becomes available. In the interim, the agency has released the following product description:

The affected products can be identified by the Establishment number that appears on the packages, cartons or cases. The products made at this facility bear Establishment number (EST) 761.

The affected products involved in this recall may be identified by one of the following codes:

  • bearing a Best Before date from BB 2012 JA 01 up to and including to BB 2013 FE 15;
  • bearing a production code with a format of 11 JL 01 up to and including 12 FE 15;
  • bearing a 5 digit lot code where the last four digits are 1831 or greater.

We will be updating product description information as it becomes available.

These products have been distributed nationally to retail stores, restaurants and institutional establishments.

You can find more information – including retail distribution details – on all of the items recalled prior to CFIA’s March 17th Expanded Health Hazard Alert by clicking on the E. coli O157:H7 Beef Recall – Canada tab at the top of the page.