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Jul 2, 2009 06:17 PM

Loblaw's fresh beef recall

This involves a small quantity of high end fresh beef imported from the US. The notice is posted at

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  1. I haven't noticed Loblaws selling USDA in trays, although their cryovac'ed specials are clearly marked (most often back ribs). So this recall may indicate some deception, since they advertise AA or better beef, implying Canadian. The Ontario items are labelled 'Tender and Tasty' without much information other than a guarantee to be tender.
    In any case, it is a very stale recall, long after the fact.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jayt90

      The ones I saw on display were labeled as USDA Choice OR Canada AAA, as was the CAB.

      It's a real shame, since Loblaw's has definitely been upgrading the quality of their beef. This involves their top-of-the-line offerings.

      While the quantity involved is, indeed, trivial, this will undoubtedly cause some trust issues.

      I do look at the labels. While I sometimes buy US product knowingly, I am not unaware of the feedlot and hormone issues.

      1. re: embee

        The "tender and tasy" AAA or better is a much nicer product than AA+.

    2. On the contrary, I find the quality of beef at Loblaws has gone down significantly :/

      9 Replies
      1. re: JonasBrand

        Which Loblaw stores do you go to? There was a substantial increase in the beef quality (colour, conformation, marbling) at the downtown-east stores a few months ago.

        1. re: embee

          Except in this case where apparently the President's Choice was to buy American.

            1. re: Googs

              "Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with this bacteria may cause serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. Some people may have seizures or strokes and some may need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis. Others may live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die."

              Lovely. Nice work Galen Jr.

              1. re: Squeakycheese

                God help us if a Canadian plant sent this quality of beef to another country!
                I'll be looking more carefully at "Tender and Tasty" labels, which have mostly been distracting and busy, to me.
                I assume Canadian beef at the AAA level is labelled , but so far only Costco marks either AAA or USDA Choice clearly on the trays. Anything still in cryovac is clearly marked, even at No Frills.

                1. re: jayt90

                  I'm tired of that mendacious little Weston twerp prattling about "local" food when his meat cases are full of USDA-labeled product, some of it tainted. At least the Maple Leaf Listeria was home-grown!

            2. re: embee

              Queen's Quay. And it has been a quite a decline, used to really enjoy their meat selection.

              1. re: JonasBrand

                QQ was decidedly better than those further east. Higher prices, though. They had dry aged stock the last time I was there.

          1. Whenever Loblaw's (or Metro, Sobey's etc.) has a "Steak Sale" I always get the feeling that i am not being offered the choicest cuts, , but rather some tough and dry slabs of tired moo-cow unmarketable otherwise. Anybody here have the same impression?

            4 Replies
            1. re: ekammin

              The very large ("slice it into steaks yourself and save") roasts and whole tenderloins, usually still in cryovac, are of suspicious quality, though it is sometimes possible to get lucky. Most are USDA Select; some are Canada AA.

              Loblaw's does sometimes put decent quality steaks on sale. Indeed, they had a big sale on good steaks about a week ago. I've got a few beautiful rib steaks aging in the fridge.

              Perhaps I'm being excessively cynical, but I can't help wondering whether this was done to clear out stock because the recall news would impact sales. Nah, they couldn't have known about the recall (of an earlier shipment) when they advertised the special. Could they have? Hmmm.

              1. re: embee

                If you need the quantity, or can cut and store, cryovac is a good option at a low or reasonable price.
                Every piece I have seen for sale at retail is clearly and indelibly marked by inspection grade, The exceptions would be roasts or steaks wrapped in cryovac for you, at a butcher counter.
                Meat plant cryovac ranges from U.S.D.A. Select at No Frills to U.S.D.A. Choice at Loblaw, and Canada AAA at Costco.
                You are also buying refrigerator time, as the cryovac can be stored up to two weeks before opening it.

                1. re: jayt90

                  When these cryovac packs go "on sale" at Loblaw's or Sobey's, they are almost always stamped USDA Select. Sometimes the packages at Loblaws are a mix of USDA Select and Canada AA.

                  Metro doesn't seem to sell these very often.

                  Per my last post, I just checked the fridge. The rib steaks I got at Loblaw's steak sale last week for about $3.00/lb ($13.21/kg - 50% last day of sale) all look magnificent. Except for not being dry aged, these could have come from Cumbrae's. Everything about them looks that good.

                  While I toss the packaging (I hold them for at least a couple of weeks in the fridge), I do keep the labels. The "Tender & Tasty Beef" labels are, indeed, hard to read, but the info is all there.

                  I've seen earlier batches of this product labeled USDA Choice OR Canada AAA. I assumed these were the same, but they aren't. These are labeled "USDA Choice or higher", and they certainly look the part. There is also a Canada inspection stamp (sans any establishment number) on the label.

                  They were packaged with a "Club Pack" label, two large steaks to a tray. They usually sell this stuff at the service counter - certainly not in Club Packs at an end aisle display.

                  While everything in the fridge wasn't of this quality level, an awful lot of it was. There seemed to be no shortage of supply.

                  So again I wonder, did they know about this issue a few weeks earlier but hold the announcement until a major holiday, and following an especially good rib steak (not recalled) blowout.

                  Just wondering. Nah, they wouldn't do that. No. Not possible.

                2. re: embee

                  Time difference between the US and Canadian recall? 6 days. Yep, embee. In this country, the company not the consumer comes first.