A fish plant near Yarmouth says a recent shutdown throwing 38 people out of work that was ordered by food inspectors was based on minor infractions.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency shut down Iceland-based JHS Fish Products indefinitely, saying the plant must address deficiencies in sanitation, building construction and equipment.
Helgi Stefansson, JHS president, told CBC News that the infractions the CFIA inspectors pointed out were minor — plastic tape on a broom, fish spattered on a wall, and a glove that had fallen on the floor.
"They came out here to do an inspection and gave us a ‘D’. They were all minor, picky things," he said. "Hopefully we can get our people back to work, there are 38 people now sitting home."
This is the second suspension the plant has faced within the last year.
Jobs are not the only thing at stake. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has invested $1 million in the plant, Nova Scotia Business Inc. invested $1.8 million in payroll rebates and a loan to pay for equipment.
The CFIA stands by the planned inspection that led to the shutdown and said the plant can resume operations when it implements a Quality Management Program to prevent the same issues from happening in the future.
Stefansson said the agency inspected again on Wednesday and the plant met requirements.
"We have a lot of fish coming in both from the States and from all over the the world, and we just have to store it for the time being until we get our license back," he said.
The company hopes to have its license reinstated as soon as it can arrange a meeting with federal officials.