The XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alta., will be able to resume limited meat processing today under the supervision of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency after a massive recall of beef products over E. coli concerns.
CFIA said it has verified that appropriate cleaning and sanitization has taken place at the plant, and other maintenance problems — such as drainage, condensation and ice buildup on freezer doors — have been addressed.
The plant will be allowed to process 5,100 carcasses remaining at the plant that have tested negative for E. coli.
"This will allow the CFIA to review, in a controlled manner, the company's improvements made to all previously addressed deficiencies," said Dr. Harpreet Kochhar, CFIA’s executive director of western operations.
Meat will remain under CFIA detention until it has been determined the plant is effectively managing E. coli risk.
The product will not leave the establishment until CFIA confirms it is safe, said officials.
Limited operations will be immediately suspended if inspectors have any concerns with the plant's food safety controls.
“If the inspectors see something ... they will take action,” said Dr. Richard Arsenault, director of meat programs for the CFIA.
The plant will not be able to resume normal operations until the CFIA confirms it is safe to do so.
The announcement was part of an update given by representatives from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Public Health Agency on the next steps of the "multi-stage assessment process" at the XL Foods plant this morning in Ottawa.
A specific strain of E. coli detected at the plant led to the massive beef recall of hundreds of products and has been tied to 12 human cases of E. coli.
CFIA said it had launched a detailed assessment of the southern Alberta plant on Tuesday to see if the facility has addressed deficiencies uncovered in an investigation in September.
Kochhar said the agency will look at ways of improving the tracking of meat that leaves the XL Foods plant for other processing centres, and being able to get that information in a timely manner.