New XL Foods problems typical, says expert
An independent food safety expert says consumers shouldn't be worried about new problems at XL Foods, the beef processing plant that has resumed operations following an E. coli outbreak.
Most of the issues raised on the weekend are "fairly typical and easily corrected," said Domenic Pedulla, president of the Canadian Food Safety Group.
The plant in Brooks, Alta., came under scrutiny again when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency released an update on the plant’s progress.
Overall, the plant is being effectively managed, the CFIA said in a statement, but some changes have been ordered.
Problems highlighted included meat-cutting areas not being adequately cleaned, no sanitizing solution in the mats where employees clean their boots, and the temperature of the water in the sanitizer being too low.
Pedulla said consumers should be comforted because the plant is being so closely monitored.
"The confidence should be increased because the CFIA and the facility are operating under extra scrutiny, so the facility themselves are working harder to instill confidence and the CFIA is working harder to both instill confidence and to tell the facility…we're going to tolerate a lot less than perhaps we did in the past."
JBS USA, the company that stepped into manage the Brooks processing plant, seems to be responding quickly to any new problems, Pedulla added.
XL Food's licence was suspended by the CFIA on Sept. 27. The plant resumed operations on Oct. 29 under the new management of Brazilian-based JBS USA.
The beef recall is the largest in Canadian history and affected more than 2,000 products. Seventeen people were diagnosed with E. coli that had been linked to the meat. The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service visited the plant Friday to check on operations. Their findings have not yet been released.