The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority announced Friday that more than half of the 40 E. coli cases in the region in August had been traced back to the Dutch Meat Market in St. Boniface. The Winnipeg butcher shop is considering legal action against the farm or slaughterhouse that supplied it with contaminated meat.
"They’d have to first of all see if they have suffered any damages. And then if they have, they could consider recourse against the entity that was responsible for the problem, no question,” said attorney Grant Stefanson.
Dutch Meat Market distributed ground beef to several local restaurants and burger joints in the first two weeks of August. Meat was also sold to food retail outlets and individual customers. Four people are currently in hospital, with two in critical condition, and 14 people have had to be hospitalized since June.
The process of making ground beef is inherently risky because one piece of contaminated meat can contaminate the whole lot, said Dr. Pierre Plourde, the WRHA’s medical officer.
The restaurants in question have since been inspected and measures were taken to improve safe food handling, but Plourde said ongoing monitoring will continue.