OTTAWA, Ontario – XL Foods will be allowed to process beef carcasses under strict conditions, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
This next step in the agency’s review process will allow agents to assess the facility’s E. coli safeguards under processing conditions. Workers will process 5,100 beef carcasses already at the plant. No new animals will be processed, according to local news reports. E. coli control measures will receive increased scrutiny, and CFIA inspectors will conduct more tests of meat samples. Sanitation and hygiene practices will also be closely monitored.
CFIA will immediately suspend operations on any concerns about the plant’s food safety controls. The agency emphasized the plant cannot resume normal operations until the agency confirms in writing that the plant is safe to process beef.
"Meat from these carcasses will remain under CFIA detention," the agency said in a statement. "Product will not be allowed to leave the premises until the CFIA has confirmed in writing to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food that plant controls are effectively and consistently managing E. coli risks and that the product is safe. The CFIA will immediately halt operations if inspectors note any concerns with the facility's food safety controls."
The CFIA conducted a review of the Brooks, Alberta-based plant on Oct. 9 to ensure all areas of the plant were cleaned and sanitized. The agency said all operations will take place under specific conditions and enhanced CFIA oversight.
Meanwhile, the union representing 2,200 XL Foods employees said a public inquiry into the beef recall should come immediately after the plant resumes normal operations, which could be in a matter of days, according to Canadian news reports.