REGINA, Saskatchewan – Addressing attendees of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, Willie Van Solkema, president of JBS Canada, confirmed the former XL Foods Lakeside beef processing facility is operating at full capacity following the 2012 E. coli-related recall of millions of beef from that facility. JBS assumed management of the plant last fall in the aftermath of the recall and announced the acquisition of XL Foods this past January. According to media reports, the plant resumed slaughtering at capacity, which is approximately 4,000 head per day, in the past 45 days.
"We didn't have access to the US market so we started off slow, and to be honest with you, beef demand for most of the spring was slower than what we would like to see,” Van Solkema told delegates, according to a report published in Portage Online. He went on to say the JBS acquisition included a complete review of food safety practices at the plant.
"When JBS bought the Lakeside facility we did a total review of all food safety procedures and processes,” he said in the Portage report. “We went through the plant as it was operating and did audits on everything," he said.
According to a Canadian Cattlemen report on the presentation, Van Solkema, said the company is “absolutely committed” to food safety.
"We know how important it is to the beef industry. And let's be honest. We can't afford another wreck like the XL one,” he said. “It hurt not just XL — obviously we all know what happened — but it hurt the total industry."