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Walmart Under Fire Over Tainted Food

Walmart Canada faces dozens of government charges alleging the retailer sold food products contaminated during the wildfire that swept through Fort McMurray, Alberta, last May.

In all, the retailer’s Canadian division and four of its senior managers stand accused of 174 charges, filed by Alberta Health Services, which allege that the retailer failed to ensure that food contaminated by the fire was not stocked or sold at its Fort McMurray store, CBC News reported.

Among the charges are that Walmart allegedly lied to health inspectors by denying that fire-tainted food was being sold, CBC reported. Food items in question included bacon, cereal, cheese, chocolate bars, pasta and snack chips.

CBC noted that officials had advised residents returning to Fort McMurray after the fire to dispose of any food products other than canned food.

Alex Robertson, Walmart Canada senior director of corporate affairs, expressed surprise at the charges in a written statement to CBC News. "We, at all material times, and during an unprecedented crisis, worked very closely with both food inspectors and the crisis management team of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to re-open the store as soon as reasonably possible, in an effort to support and meet the critical needs of the community," Robertson told CBC in the statement.

Under Canada’s Public Health Act, each charge carries a fine of up to $2,000.


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