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The COVID-19 Outbreak At A McDonald's Beef Supplier Has Now Become The Biggest In Canada

Alberta is home to Canada's largest COVID-19 outbreak. The Cargill meat plant, one of two major beef suppliers for McDonald's Canada, is the source. It also became Canada's largest outbreak linked to a single site. 

According to CBC News, the Cargill meat plant has been linked to 798 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, April 26. 

The plant shut down its production facility on April 20 after it had registered over 450 cases and one death.  

Anna Maddison, a spokesperson for Health Canada, told Narcity in an email that "the Public Health Agency of Canada is aware of the outbreak in Alberta linked to the Cargill plant."

She then confirmed that "based on available information at this time, the Cargill plant outbreak is reporting the largest number of COVID-19 cases linked to a single workplace."

The plant is now being investigated by Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Alberta, which normally looks into serious worksite incidents in the province.

Shawn McLeod, Deputy Minister of Labour and Immigration, also spoke about this outbreak during Alberta's COVID-19 press conference update on April 22, 2020. 

He confirmed that a Cargill worker has died due to COVID-19 complications. He revealed that OHS is also conducting investigations at the JBS meat plant in Brooks, Alberta.

"OHS is currently conducting investigations at both these facilities," said McLeod. 

He added that the investigation is looking at the circumstances surrounding the potential exposure of workers at these facilities to the disease. 

It will also cover any potential non-compliance that may have affected the health and safety of workers at this meat plant. 

"The investigation has commenced and will take as long as needed to gather the appropriate information," he stated. 

Narcity has reached out to the Cargill Meatpacking Plant and we will update this article when we receive a response. 

McDonald's Canada is well aware of the outbreak at one of its biggest beef suppliers.

In an email sent to Narcity on April 20, a spokesperson for McDonald's Canada said, "The Cargill plant in High River, Alberta, is one of several facilities approved to provide ground beef for McDonald’s Canada but does not produce our beef patties."

This email was sent before Cargill had announced that they were shutting down temporarily. 

Workers at the Cargill plant had expressed concern about a number of issues at the facility before it shut its doors for the time being, including "elbow-to-elbow" working conditions, non-compliance of physical distancing measures, and lack of PPE for non-management.