Cow cancer was cause of Harvest Meats recall, CFIA says

Harvest Meats - wieners

Harvest Meats of Yorkton, Sask., has issued a recall of a number of products, including packaged wieners. (Harvest Meats Co.)

The recent recall of meats produced by Saskatchewan-based Harvest Meats Co. was due to an animal carcass testing positive for bovine lymphosarcoma — a form of cattle cancer, CBC News has learned.

However, the disease is not transferable to humans, so there’s no health risk, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.

The CFIA recall notice, released last week, said the products, including wieners, sausages and cold cuts, may contain “unsuitable ingredients.” 

Initially, the agency didn’t go into detail about what those ingredients might be and classified the health hazard level as low to no risk.

Harvest Meats - summer sausage

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency initially said the processed meat may contain “unsuitable ingredients.” (Harvest Meats Co.)

However, in response to questions from CBC, the agency provided more information.

“These products are being recalled due to a regulatory violation, in that diseased or otherwise unsound animals are not permitted for use in food production,” an agency spokesperson told CBC News in an email.

When CBC asked what was meant by “diseased or otherwise unsound animals,” CFIA provided further clarification.

“A CFIA laboratory confirmed a sample from the carcass was positive for bovine lymphosarcoma,” the agency said in an email Friday.

A virus is known to cause bovine lymphosarcoma, which is a cancer of the lymph tissues in cattle.

The CFIA spokesperson said the recall was a voluntary one initiated by Yorkton-based Harvest Meats and is categorized as Class III — not likely to cause any adverse health consequences.

A “beef ingredient” that was the source of the problem had been brought in from a supplier who had not followed accepted protocols, said Bill Grant, director of quality control at Harvest Meats in Yorkton.

The supplier was Natural Valley Beef, said Ken Propp, president and GM of Harvest Meats.

“Our position was ‘If you [CFIA] have issues with this meat. We have issues with this meat,'” Propp said. “We’ll gladly recall it to protect our customers and that’s what we did.”

“I stand behind the food inspection system in this country,” Propp said. “This is proof that it works.”

The meats, with expiry dates in August and September, may have been distributed in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

Meanwhile, a similar Class III recall — connected to the Harvest Meats recall — has been issued by Regina-based Ukrainian Co-op Ltd. for wieners they’ve sold.

According to CFIA, “some of the bulk product recalled by Harvest Meats was repacked and relabelled at the Ukrainian Co-op in Regina.”

Details of the Harvest Meats recall are below:

Harvest brand name:

No brand name:

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