Outrage over E. coli outbreak in Calgary daycares linked to one kitchen


More than 200 children have fallen ill with E. coli infections after eating food from a catering company that supplied several daycare centres in Calgary. Some of the children have developed a potentially life-threatening complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure and blood clots. At least 26 people, including 25 children and one adult, have been hospitalized as a result of the outbreak.

The source of the outbreak has been traced to a kitchen operated by KidsU Centennial-Fueling Minds, a company that provides meals and snacks to 11 daycare centres in the city. The kitchen was shut down by Alberta Health Services (AHS) on Sept. 8 after inspectors found multiple health violations, including evidence of a cockroach infestation, improper food handling, and inadequate sanitation.

Outrage over E. coli outbreak in Calgary daycares linked to one kitchen
Outrage over E. coli outbreak in Calgary daycares linked to one kitchen

The outbreak has sparked outrage among parents, who entrusted their children to the daycare centres and expected them to receive safe and nutritious food. Many parents have expressed anger and frustration at the lack of communication and accountability from the daycare operators, the catering company, and the health authorities.

Health officials under fire for delayed response

The first cases of E. coli infections were reported on Aug. 30, but it took more than a week for AHS to issue a public health alert and close the kitchen. During that time, more children were exposed to the contaminated food and became sick. Some parents have accused AHS of being slow and secretive in their response, and have demanded answers and transparency.

Dr. Mark Joffe, the chief medical officer of health for Alberta, admitted that there were some delays in the investigation and notification process, but defended the actions of AHS. He said that the outbreak was complex and involved multiple locations, and that it took time to confirm the link between the cases and the kitchen. He also said that AHS followed the protocols and guidelines for managing outbreaks, and that the public was informed as soon as possible.

Joffe said that AHS is working closely with the daycare centres and the catering company to ensure that the outbreak is contained and that the affected children receive the best care possible. He also said that AHS is conducting a thorough review of the incident and will implement any recommendations to prevent similar outbreaks in the future.

Premier Smith vows to hold responsible parties accountable

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has expressed her sympathy and support for the families of the sick children, and has promised to hold the responsible parties accountable. She said that she was shocked and appalled by the conditions of the kitchen and the negligence of the catering company, and that she expects them to face serious consequences.

Smith said that her government will not tolerate any violations of food safety standards, and that she has instructed the health minister and the justice minister to take swift and decisive action against the catering company and anyone else who may have contributed to the outbreak. She also said that her government will review the regulations and oversight of daycare centres and food service providers, and will introduce any necessary changes to ensure the health and safety of children.

Smith said that her government stands with the families of the sick children, and that she will do everything in her power to help them recover and heal. She also urged anyone who may have symptoms of E. coli infection, such as bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever, to seek medical attention immediately.


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