CFIA issues update on operations at XL Foods

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) has issued an update on its monitoring of operations at the XL Foods beef plant at Brooks, Alta. XL resumed operations Oct. 29 following several weeks of closure due to  E. coli contamination.

In a statement, CFIA said inspectors closely monitored plant operations, including the unloading and screening of animals, pre-operation inspections, slaughter, and the cutting and processing of carcasses.

"Over the course of the first week of operations, the CFIA determined that the establishment’s overall food safety controls were being effectively managed," CFIA said.

However it said that as would be expected in a facility that has not been in regular operation for some time, it has issued some Corrective Action Requests (CARs) including:

• condensation on pipes in the tripe room;
• water in a sanitizer was not maintained at a high temperature;
• meat cutting areas were not adequately cleaned; and
• no sanitizing chemical solution in the mats used for cleaning employees’ boots.

The CFIA said it instructed plant management to take immediate action, and the concerns were addressed.

In addition, the CFIA requested the company submit corrective action plans outlining how they will address these issues in the longer term and mitigate future risks. The CFIA said the company submitted a corrective action plan and appropriate measures were implemented immediately.

The CFIA said As part of a previously scheduled audit of the Canadian inspection system, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) visited the plant on November 2, 2012. The audit findings will be released by the U.S. at a later date.