OTTAWA, Ontario – XL Foods Inc. will be allowed to resume processing beef under enhanced oversight at the company’s Brooks, Alberta facility, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced on Oct. 23.
The CFIA lifted the suspension on the company’s operations license, and said the facility can progressively resume beef slaughter and processing operations under CFIA surveillance and increased testing protocols.
"Since Oct. 11, CFIA inspectors have been closely monitoring limited, in-house operations, including the cutting and processing of the remaining carcasses in the plant," CFIA said in a statement on the agency's website. "Following this thorough examination, the Agency determined that the company's E. coli O157:H7 controls, as well as sanitation and meat hygiene procedures, are being implemented appropriately.
"Additional CFIA inspectors — beyond the 46 normally assigned full-time to the plant — will remain at the facility to monitor the company's slaughter procedures and to ensure strengthened food safety controls are being effectively integrated into daily plant practices," CFIA added.
Enhanced oversight activities include:
• two additional inspection resources, in addition to current resources, will focus on certain inspection tasks at key stages of production;
• increasing testing for E. coli O157:H7, over and above the company's already established testing protocol, which sees all trim lots sampled and tested; and
• holding products until all E. coli O157:H7 test results have been assessed.
The CFIA said the agency will convene an Expert Advisory Committee to review the events and circumstances related to the investigation. Committee members include experts from private sector and academia. Technical experts from the CFIA, Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will support the committee. The committee's work will be made public once the review is completed, according to CFIA.