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XL Foods ordered to fix problems

Trouble continues for an Alberta meat plant as it tries to resume normal processing under the watchful eye of federal food safety inspectors.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says on its website that its staff observed a number of problems last week at XL Foods.

They included meat areas that weren't adequately cleaned and water sanitizer that wasn't maintained at a high enough temperature.

It says inspectors also noted there was condensation on pipes as well as no sanitizing chemical in mats used for cleaning employees' boots.

The CFIA says it ordered the plant's managers to take corrective action, which included sending potentially-contaminated meat for rendering.

The plant in Brooks was closed Sept. 27 due to E. coli contaminated meat that led to a massive recall.

Workers began slaughtering cattle Oct. 29 at the plant but there has been no word yet on when the beef can be sold to retailers or consumers.

"Over the course of the first week of operations, the CFIA determined that the establishment's overall food safety controls were being effectively managed," the agency says on its website.

"As would be expected in a facility that has not been in regular operation for some time, there have been some observations made by CFIA that resulted in the CFIA issuing new Corrective Action Requests to XL Foods Inc.. since the plant reopened."

The agency says it also requested the company submit corrective action plans outlining how they will address the issues in the longer term and mitigate future risks.

The CFIA says it is still waiting on lab results from tests that it and the company did on product from the plant before allowing XL Foods to sell trim and ground beef from the plant.

The total number of illnesses linked to the outbreak stands at 17.

Management of the plant has been taken over by JBS USA, an American subsidiary of a Brazilian company.

The US Food Safety and Inspection Service visited the plant on November 2, 2012 and conducted its own audit. The CFIA says those audit findings will be released by the US at a later date.

The Canadian Press


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