CFIA cautions XL Foods on food-safety standards

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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OTTAWA, Ontario – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued new corrective actions to XL Foods Inc. after government inspectors raised concerns about some plant operations, the agency said on Nov. 4.

The Brooks, Alberta-based facility was temporarily closed after a recall of beef products because of E. coli contamination. The plant resumed beef slaughter on Oct. 29 under enhanced CFIA surveillance and increased testing protocols. CFIA said that “overall food-safety controls were being effectively managed” at the plant during its first week of operation. But while inspectors with the agency closely monitored plant operations, such as unloading and screening animals, pre-operation inspections, slaughter and cutting and processing of beef carcasses, they found enough points of concern to issue the company corrective action requests.

The inspectors observed:

• Condensation on pipes in the tripe room;
• Water in a sanitizer was not maintained at a high temperature;
• Meat-cutting areas were not adequately cleaned; and
• No sanitizing chemical solution in the mats used for cleaning employees' boots.

The agency instructed plant management to immediately address these concerns and others such as:

• Potentially contaminated product was sent for rendering.
• Sanitizers were brought into compliance immediately.
• The meat-cutting area was cleaned and sanitized.
• Boot mats were supplied with sanitizer.

CFIA requested the company submit corrective action plans detailing how plant management will address these issues long-term and mitigate future risks. XL Foods did submit a plan, and the CFIA is reviewing it and will verify that measures are effectively implemented.

"In addition to monitoring plant operations, the CFIA will analyze results from product testing conducted by both the company and the CFIA, which are expected from laboratories in the coming days," the agency said in a statement on its web site. "Trim and ground- beef products will be held by XL Foods Inc. until all related CFIA and XL Foods Inc. test results are reviewed and found acceptable by the CFIA."

CFIA also announced that the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service visited the plant Nov. 2, and will issue audit findings at a later date.

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