Public Health Ontario faced a great deal of backlash on social media on Monday, after a Sun reporter reported on the agency’s decision to give a batch of E. coli-tainted tainted pink slime made by the U.S. meat company Beef Products, Inc., to high school students across the province.
The meat was sourced from Canada and produced in Sioux City, Iowa.
Bob Laidlaw, co-founder of BPI, in a letter to Canada’s Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food issued an open letter to POHO condemning their actions. He accused POHO of deceiving the public and said they were already aware of the problem. He is asking people across Canada to boycott the company’s products.
“If you had a child in a school in Ontario right now who had received contaminated lean finely textured beef, you’d have every right to be extremely worried. Yet, in this city and in every town across Canada and America, these activists get free samples of E. coli-tainted pink slime to distribute, without informing the public of the risk,” he said.
Laidlaw is demanding that Ontario public health officials strip their name and logo from the pink slime that they have distributed in school cafeterias across the province.
Public Health Ontario rejected his claims and said they were merely promoting discourse, after receiving more than 4,400 submissions during an “Open Comments” initiative that launched last week. POHO spokesperson Julie Essenden tells Fox News that through the initiative, they will use “a number of different forms of communication to achieve their own goals,” including social media platforms, leaflets, and in person presentations to schools.
Izzy Fichman, POHO vice-chair, responded to an online comment from an expert using the hashtag #snobbyangels, which she has since removed.
“I see we have several experts commenting here and I think it is a little unfortunate that they don’t live up to what they say. Some of them are just loud voices. It doesn’t mean that they’re not right,” she said.
Fichman adds that her committee was in consultation with other agencies about the program, including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, but did not try to contact BPI directly.
They told BPI in advance they were going to give the meat to schools, so it would be very clear what was going on. “So it was actually never an issue of trying to hide anything. It was just trying to promote dialogue,” she said.
E. coli-tainted hamburger was the focus of a U.S. Public Health Alert issued in April. More than 30 people have been infected with a strain of E. coli called serogroup B Heidelberg E. coli, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced.
The CDC urged people not to eat this beef. Any person who has eaten this beef, including consumers, and has diarrhea within two days of the last eating event should see a health care provider.