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Class Action Cites|Giant Recall of Beef

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - In a class action, a woman hospitalized with e. coli poisoning blames it on XL Foods' and Nilsson Bros.' tainted beef, whose 1.5 million lb. recall was the biggest beef recall in Canadian history.

Erin Thornton claims she fell ill after eating ground beef that was subject to the recall.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency investigated a tip from U.S. officials that beef from XL's Brooks, Alberta plant had tested positive for e. coli.

The Brooks facility processes 35 percent of Canada's beef, according to the complaint. The meat is sold throughout Canada and in several U.S. states.

Weeks after sounding the alarm, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued public health alerts in 30 states, leading to the recall of more than 2.5 million pounds of beef products in the United States.

Thornton claims the defendants' food safety procedures were inadequate and defective, leading to the massive contamination. And she claims that after the contamination was discovered, the companies bungled the recall.

"In both Canada and the United States, the recall was conducted in several stages, with the result that contaminated products were available for purchase (and subsequent consumption) for an extended and unreasonable period of time," the complaint states. "In Canada, the recall was staggered over a span of at least 25 days beginning on September 16, 2012. In the United States, the recall was staggered over a span of at least 8 days beginning on September 20, 2012."

Thornton is represented by Kieran A.G. Bridge, with Siskinds LLP.

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