A company that runs a commercial kitchen at the centre of an E. coli outbreak at multiple Calgary daycares has entered a not guilty plea to municipal bylaw charges.

The City of Calgary charged Fueling Minds Inc. and its two directors, Faisal Alimohd and Anil Karim, in September with serving food at child care centres without a food services business licence. They face 12 charges and a total fine of up to $120,000.

A lawyer representing the company met Tuesday with a Crown prosecutor at the Calgary Courts Centre and entered the not guilty plea. A trial date was set for Sept. 6, 2024.

The lawyer deferred comment on the case to the company, but no one responded to requests.

The E. coli outbreak, which was declared Sept. 4, was linked to the central kitchen used by the daycares.

That kitchen had been closed indefinitely, but an online environmental health inspection report from Nov. 15 suggests previous violations have been corrected.

No further details have been posted online, and no one from Alberta Health Services immediately responded to a request to explain whether that means the kitchen could reopen.

Health officials have said meat loaf and vegan loaf meals served for lunch on Aug. 29 most likely contained the E. coli bacteria that led to the initial infections.

Alberta Health Services, which delivers health care across the province, declared the outbreak over in late October.

At least 446 E. coli cases at that time were connected to the outbreak, which lasted eight weeks and saw 39 children and one adult hospitalized. Twenty-three of those patients were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome and eight required dialysis.

There were no deaths, and no patients remain in hospital.

Calgary police said Tuesday its child abuse unit continues to investigate the outbreak to determine if there's a criminal element after receiving information from the community. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2023.