Health officials believe that meatloaf and vegan loaf meals served on August 29 from a shared kitchen utilized by several daycare facilities in the Calgary area, are the most likely to have been the source of an E. Coli outbreak that sickened hundreds of kids. 

During a Wednesday morning press conference, Dr. Mark Joffe, chief medical officer of health, said that neither of the items could be tested as they were either discarded or eaten.

"While we now have a likely source, we do not know exactly what was contaminated or how. The answer to these two questions as the investigation remains extremely active and is ongoing," Dr. Joffe added. 

Currently, there are currently 351 lab-confirmed cases of and a total of 37 confirmed secondary cases linked to the E. Coli outbreak in Calgary and the surrounding areas. Four children remain in the hospital. However, health officials believe that the outbreak has plateaued. 

Premier Danielle Smith also updated the public on the compassionate payments that the province announced previously, saying that the portal had opened on Monday.

"Parents have been informed by Children and Family Services that they can apply for their payments; as of yesterday we've received approximately 775 applications,' she said. 

Premier Smith said she has also tasked the Minister of Health, Adriana Lagrange and the Minister of Children and Family Services, Cyril Turton, with reviewing food safety and kitchens that provide food in licensed childcare facilities. 

"[This] in order to put in place the necessary measures to prevent this from ever happening again; and we're taking another step in this critical work. Today I'm announcing the creation of an external review panel led by former Calgary Police Chief Rick Hansen to conduct a comprehensive review of government policy and food safety practices to keep our children safe."

Both ministers will be working with the panel to find ways to strengthen legislation and inspection processes that govern food safety in food establishments serving licensed, child-care facilities. The panel will also include parents, licensed facility-based child-care operators, food service operators, as well as food safety and public health experts.

The City of Calgary also announced on Wednesday that it had charged Fueling Minds, a catering company and school lunch delivery service provider - which has been at the center of the E. Coli outbreak - with serving food at childcare centres in Calgary without a Food Services - Business licence.  

The corporation and its two directors have each been charged under the Business Licensing Bylaw for operating without a business licence for a total of 12 charges. If convicted, they could face a total fine amount of up to $120,000. 

According to a media release, City of Calgary Business Safety Officers began investigating Fueling Minds once news broke of the E. coli outbreak, and it was shared that the company had been providing food services to five Calgary childcare centres owned by other operators.

"This additional service was outside of the scope of Fueling Minds Provincially licensed daycare business and required a City of Calgary business licence."

The shared kitchen utilized by several Calgary daycares at the center of the E. Coli outbreak was found to have critical health violations during a health inspection earlier this month. Fueling Minds, and Fueling Brains Academy - Centennial Kitchen, located in Southwest Calgary was found to have cockroaches during an Environmental Health Inspection.

The kitchen remains under a closure order by AHS.

A total of 1,084 children connected to the outbreak have been cleared to return to a child-care facility.

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