Judge certifies $16M class action in deadly E. coli outbreak in Edmonton

One person died, 42 others became ill after eating tainted pork products


Wallis Snowdon, CBC News (Canada)

Sep 20, 2022


A judge has certified a $16-million class action alleging that contaminated pork sold by a central Alberta Hutterite colony led to a deadly E. coli outbreak in Edmonton four years ago.


The lawsuit seeks compensation for people who suffered damages as a result of buying or consuming contaminated pork products from The Meat Shop at Pine Haven, a meat-packing and retail operation at the Pine Haven Hutterite colony near Wetaskiwin.


The suit, certified Friday by Court of King's Bench Justice James Neilson, alleges that the shop and its operators the Pine Haven Hutterite Colony and the Hutterian Brethren Church of Pine Haven failed to prevent and contain the outbreak.


One person died and 42 others fell ill in the outbreak in the spring of 2018. The cases were linked to pork products contaminated with O157:H7, a potent strain of E. coli.


Among those who fell ill, 14 people were hospitalized and five developed hemolytic uremic syndrome a disease that affects the kidneys and blood-clotting functions.


About half of the cases involved people who had eaten at Mama Nita's, a Filipino restaurant in southeast Edmonton that has since closed. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency traced the pork products to The Meat Shop at Pine Haven.


"The defendants owed a duty of care to the plaintiff and other class members to ensure that its products were safe for consumption and that ingestion of those products would not cause illness or injury," the plaintiffs say in their statement of claim.


They seek compensation for physical injury, mental anguish, medical expenses and lost wages. The suit also seeks refunds on behalf of consumers who bought the recalled meat.


In total, the plaintiffs seek...