CALGARY — Health officials say the source of an E. coli outbreak at several Calgary daycares, declared Sept. 4, was most likely meat loaf and vegan loaf served from a shared kitchen. More than 350 people have been infected and more than three dozen have been treated in hospital.
Here's what we know about Fueling Minds Inc., the company that runs the kitchen, which has been closed indefinitely.
The Fueling Minds website says it's a catering program for child-care centres and schools, offering nutritious breakfast, snacks and hot lunches. It has locations in Calgary and Saskatoon.
The Fueling Brains Academy, which has the same corporate address and email as Kids U Centennial-Fueling Minds Inc., says on its website it has eight preschool and daycare locations in Calgary and nearby Strathmore. It takes care of about 2,000 children.
Six of the 11 daycares initially closed due to the outbreak are Fueling Brains locations.
Corporate records from the Alberta government show Fueling Brains Inc. was incorporated in the province in 2017. The company’s directors are Faisal Alimohd and Anil Karim, who are both listed as voting shareholders.
Records show the Fueling Brains Academy trade name was registered as a child-care facility by Alimohd and was previously called Kids U Centennial Inc.
The City of Calgary says it began investigating Fueling Minds after the outbreak.
The company and its two directors, Alimohd and Karmin, face a total of 12 charges under municipal business bylaws and face a total fine of up to $120,000. They are scheduled to appear in court in November.
The city alleges Fueling Minds operated without a city business licence that's required when providing third-party food services to child-care centres not owned by the company.
A proposed class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 8 on behalf of those affected by the outbreak. It names as defendants Fueling Minds, Fueling Brains Academy and the company's six daycares.
Provincial and federal online records show some of the public funds awarded.
Alberta records of grant payments show Kids U Inc. has received more than $490,000 since the beginning of 2021. Kids U Centennial Inc. received an additional $15,000.
The federal government also has records of Kids U Inc. receiving $100,000 and Kids U Centennial Inc. receiving more than $200,000 in grants since 2021.
Records show Alimohd was registered as a lobbyist in British Columbia until earlier this year.
Kids U Inc. is also recorded in the federal lobby and a company representative made communications 38 times, including with Bardish Chagger, who was then the Liberal government leader in the House of Commons.
Fueling Brains vice-president of strategic partnerships and growth is former Liberal member of Parliament Kent Hehr. Hehr’s profile on LinkedIn says he has been employed by Fueling Brains for almost three years.His mother, Judy Hehr, is listed as the company's director of early learning and child-care services.
Kent Hehr resigned from cabinet in 2018 following allegations of inappropriate behaviour and lost his seat in the 2019 election.
"On behalf of the team at Fueling Brains, we are deeply saddened that children are sick. The health and safety of our children, parents and staff has always been our priority," Faisal Alimohd said in a statement Sept. 5.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2023.
The Canadian Press