Bothwell Cheese factory back up and running after contamination scare
Shredded cheese recall issued days before Christmas caused Manitoba-based company to halt production
A Manitoba-based cheese factory is back up and running after a contamination scare over the holidays.
Bothwell Cheese Inc. shut down its operations just days before Christmas and a recall was issued on 3,000 packages of shredded cheese due to a possible Listeria contamination.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) put out a notice asking consumers to throw out products that were part of the recall or return them to where they were purchased.
While the company is still in the process of investigating the contamination with the CFIA, they believe the source of the problem was a new piece of equipment.
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That piece of equipment was removed and the entire factory was sanitized for good measure, said Mike Raftis, the director of sales and marketing at Bothwell.
"We've taken corrective action to ensure that there's no issues in the future," Raftis said.
"We're going a step further and identifying and reviewing all equipment, all areas of the plant, to ensure we've covered all our bases"
The company is constantly changing and refining its processes to keep up with the growing demand for its products in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec, Raftis said.
"Keeping up with that growth involves installing new equipment to keep up with the demand, becoming more efficient ... [and] different renovations going on in the building in order to keep up with demand," Raftis said.
The stop in production came at the most inconvenient time, Raftis said, adding November and December are two of the busiest months of the year for the company.
"There's no question being shut down at a key demand period does cause some interruptions in the supply chain, so for sure there were areas we weren't able necessarily to fill particular orders or certain varieties," Raftis said, adding the cheese company is now "playing catchup."
"As unfortunate as it was that we couldn't fill those orders, we just felt … the necessary steps that we needed to take to ensure food safety was our priority."
The CFIA is conducting its own investigation in parallel with Bothwell's own in-house review.
Raftis said this is the first time the company has had a contamination scare.