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E. coli is found in ground beef imported to U.S. from Canada

Federal inspectors have discovered for the first time E. coli contamination in imported ground beef, preventing more than 34,000 pounds of the Canadian product from getting into the marketplace.

"We feel that this shows the system is working to protect consumers," said Jacque Lee Knight, spokes-woman for the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service.A routine sample of the Canadian ground beef taken Oct. 9 at an import station in Sweetgrass, Mont., was confirmed as containing E. coli last Thursday, Agriculture Department officials said.

The ground beef, produced by an IBP Inc.-owned plant in Brooks, Alberta, Canada, was not distributed and is in cold storage in New Orleans. The 34,491 pounds of beef could either be cooked into a marketable product - cooking at high temperatures kills E. coli - or destroyed.