Beaumont man launches $480,000 lawsuit, claims tainted beef killed wife

A Beaumont man has launched a $480,000 lawsuit against Save-On-Foods and its parent company, alleging his wife died as a result of E. coli-tainted beef that was purchased there.

According to a statement of claim filed on Jan. 8, Nancy Yauck became extremely ill with an E. Coli-related illness on Oct. 7, 2012 after consuming beef products purchased from Save-On-Foods.
The grocery chain’s parent company, Overwaitea Food Group, is also listed as a defendant. The plaintiff, Donald Johnson, is the widower of the diseased.
Johnson is seeking compensation for emotional and nervous shock; grief, bereavement and loss of love and companionship; personal loss of income; funeral expenses and other damages.
The plaintiff alleges the defendants breached their duty by failing to test their beef products thoroughly prior to marketing and distribution to ensure they were safe for consumption, among other allegations, including failing to recall the beef in a timely manner when they learned people were falling ill.
The statement of claim states the defendants also breached their duty to implement and follow proper quality control protocols and also failed to employ and properly train competent staff on proper, safe or adequate food handling techniques.
The statement of claim does not state when the beef was purchased or where it was processed.
A statement of defence has not yet been filed. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
The largest meat recall in Canada’s history took place in 2012, when 4,000 tonnes of beef were recalled following an E. coli outbreak.
The tainted meat was initially detected in Sept. 2012 at an XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alta. The plant was shut down on Sept. 28, 2012 for more than a month.
Across Canada, 28 people fell ill and about 2,000 items were recalled following the outbreak. According to an independent report, it was caused by poorly-cleaned machinery in the plant.
The 2013 report also said federal and industry food inspectors were lax in their jobs.
Following the report’s release, the federal government announced an inspection verification team that would spot-check food safety overnight. It also committed to spending $15.7 million on enhanced food safety.
A Canada-wide class action lawsuit targeting XL Foods, involving several hundred plaintiffs claiming injury from tainted beef, was certified by Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench in October 2013.
~With files from Tony Blais/Postmedia Network
This story originally appeared in La Nouvelle Beaumont News.

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