Canada appoints panel to review XL Foods recall

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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OTTAWA, Ontario – Canada's federal government has appointed an Independent Advisory Panel to review the XL Foods Inc. E. coli O157:H7 investigation and recall. XL Foods was at the center of the largest beef recall in Canadian history.

The team will make recommendations based on its findings. The final report and any recommendations will be made public once completed. The review panel includes:

• Dr. Ronald Lewis, who served as Chief Veterinary Officer and Director, Animal Health Branch for British Columbia from 1999 to 2009. He will serve as chairman of the panel.

• Dr. André Corriveau, who is currently the Chief Public Health Officer, Department of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories.

• Dr. Ronald Usborne, a consultant to food and supplier industries. Usborne was vice president of Quality Assurance, Food Safety, Caravelle Foods before retiring.

"Our government supports this independent review process, said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz in a statement. “This is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that Canadians continue to have one of the safest food safety systems in the world.

"We take the safety of Canada's food supply very seriously, and we remain committed to the continuous improvement of Canada's strong food safety systems that allow Canadian consumers to shop with confidence," Ritz added.

The review team will:

• examine the events, circumstances, and factors that contributed to the E. coli outbreak in Brooks, Alberta-based XL Foods products. This will include the design, implementation, and oversight of food safety preventative control programs, inspection policies and protocols, and information exchange between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and its food safety system partners, including XL Foods and foreign regulators;

• consider whether the CFIA or XL Foods Inc. could reasonably have detected the contamination before the beef products entered into distribution and commerce; and

• review the effectiveness of CFIA's response, in light of the additional resources provided to the agency since 2006, in conjunction with the response of its food safety system partners, including XL Foods and foreign regulators, to the E. coli outbreak. The team also has the discretion to review the effectiveness of CFIA's prevention, detection, recall response, incident management, and investigative activities, as well as the agency's collaboration and communication with one another, the public, and stakeholders for the purpose of ensuring consumer safety.

JBS Food Canada Inc., a subsidiary of JBS USA, acquired some XL Foods operations in January. JBS Foods Canada owns a beef packing plant in Calgary, Alta.; a feedlot in Brooks, and the adjacent farmland acreage supporting the feedlot operation.

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