CFIA suspends operations at Capital Packers

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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OTTAWA, Ontario – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) suspended operations at Edmonton, Alberta-based Capital Packers Inc. Nov. 22 on concerns the company’s sausage products may contain Listeria monocytogenes.

The recalled products are:

• Capital brand 300-g ham sausages
• Compliments brand 375-g ham sausages.

“The CFIA has determined that adequate controls for food safety are not being reliably implemented in the facility on a consistent basis,” the agency said in a statement. “The company has failed to correct deficiencies previously identified through CFIA inspections.”

The problem was discovered by the company when Listeria monocytogenes was found on an employee's sleeve. Capital Packers voluntarily recalled product produced on a specific line as a precaution, CFIA said. No product has tested positive for listeria, and there have been no reported illnesses associated with consumption of the recalled products.

CFIA suspended the company’s operations license because it was unable to demonstrate that it has effective processes in place keep track of its production. The agency issued a number of corrective action requests (CARs), but the company could not demonstrate that it has acceptable plans in place to address the CARs and respond to these issues in the future, CFIA said.

Capital Packers has had problems in the past, according to CFIA. Since April 1, 2012, CFIA has issued 11 CARs to the company, and five remain open. The company also had its license temporarily suspended in September 2011 as a result of compliance issues related to ventilation and condensation and was reinstated after a week when the company corrected the problem, CFIA said.

CFIA has detained all products currently at the plant. The agency warned that the recall could be expanded as the agency's investigation progresses.

"Capital Packers Inc. will not be able to resume operations until they have fully addressed CFIA's corrective action requirements and the CFIA is fully confident in the plant's capacity to effectively manage food safety risks is demonstrated," CFIA said. "In addition, work will be undertaken to examine where contamination may have occurred."

The company and the CFIA regularly tests environmental and product samples as part of regular inspection procedures. Two inspectors oversee operations at the facility, according to CFIA, and there are approximately 90 employees that work over three shifts. Capital Packers makes both ready-to-eat and non-RTE meats. The company does not export product to other countries.

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