After discarding meat worth $4,000, Calgary halal butcher again allowed to reopen

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A Calgary halal butcher that was ordered to close twice in the last month for selling uninspected meat has again been given the go-ahead to reopen, say health officials.

Alberta Health Services rescinded a closure order for northeast Calgary’s Alta Halal Meat on Thursday. It ends a seven-day closure that came only weeks after the shop and seven others were ordered shut in April when RCMP advised AHS that the businesses were linked to an illegal livestock slaughter investigation.

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Each of the eight locations was initially allowed to reopen in early May, but health officials closed Alta Halal Meat for a second time on May 17 following a re-inspection — again for offering uninspected meat.

“Following the directives outlined in the order, the business operator provided satisfactory evidence to an AHS public health inspector, ensuring that all prepared, processed, and displayed food originates from approved sources,” AHS said in a statement to Postmedia on Friday, noting the butcher shop also followed through on directives to submit receipts for all meat products purchased and a detailed summary of its cleaning activities.

“With these measures met, the business now meets the criteria for reopening.”

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When AHS issued the second closure order, it noted that inspection stamps found on some meat were fake. Health officials seized the meats and disposed of them earlier this week.

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Saleh Obeid, the owner of Alta Halal Meat, previously told Postmedia he didn’t know the stamps were illegitimate. He said health inspectors should be looking at providers rather than his business.

“This is not from my side, not my issue if the stamp is clear or not clear — you have to go to the main store,” he said.

He added: “We will be back from scratch. It has affected my job, affected my reputation, affected my customers.”

The now-discarded meat cost the business around $4,000, Obeid said.

AHS says uninspected meat can present serious health risks and urged anyone who purchased meat from the location before its closure to dispose of it.

The health authority says officials reiterated guidelines regarding approved safe sources of meat supply and the criteria for inspected meat to the business owner when it rescinded the closure order.

— With files from Steven Wilhelm

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