FORT MCMURRAY (NEWS 1130) – Walmart Canada is facing some serious allegations, as the mega-store is being accused of selling wildfire contaminated food to the people of Fort McMurray.
Alberta Health Services has charged the company with 174 violations of the province’s public Health Act.
According to court documents, the list of food items in question is long, including baby snacks, ice cream, cheese and yogurt.
Officials at Walmart are also being charged with obstructing, hindering, and interfering with inspectors by telling them the contaminated food was no longer being used.
The violations are believed to have happened between May 24th to the 29th of last year.
AHS has released a statement on the matter:
“We know that having access to safe food is essential to the health and recovery of any community. Despite having received guidance and direction from AHS, both in person and in writing, it is our belief that Walmart reopened selling wildfire-contaminated food to the public.”
“This was a direct and avoidable risk to the health of this community.”
According to officials, food during this time was exposed to smoke, ash, soot and fire retardant chemicals. They add they also worked with all food operations on how best to dispose of those foods before re-opening.
Alex Roberton, Walmart Canada’s senior director of corporate affairs, says the retailer is surprised by the charges.
He says they worked very closely with food inspectors and the crisis management team in the city following the wildfire.