OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 13, 2012) - The priority of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is food safety and consumer protection. With the cooperation and commitment of XL Foods Inc., we are prepared to complete our assessment of Establishment 38 as quickly as possible.
The CFIA has worked closely with XL Foods Inc. since the plant's licence was suspended on September 27. We have already advised the company that its documented food safety plans are acceptable and that previously identified maintenance and sanitation issues have been addressed. In addition, we have clearly outlined the steps and actions we require the company to take so that we can be sure that food safety controls in the plant are working effectively.
The speed at which XL Foods Inc. begins normal operations is solely dependent on their ability to demonstrate that they can produce safe food. The priority of the CFIA is and will remain the safety of Canadian food.
On Friday and Saturday, we oversaw the cutting of carcasses in the plant that had tested negative for E. coli by the CFIA. We need to observe the plant's E. coli controls in action, so this activity is a critical element in our assessment of the company's E. coli safeguards. Unfortunately, the company decided to stop operations after only cutting about half the carcasses. At this time, we are unable to complete our assessment.
We are ready to continue our assessment as soon as the company resumes activities. We recognize that the company wants to return to normal operations as soon as possible, but the CFIA has a responsibility to assure consumers that the plant can produce safe food.
No products from this facility will enter the marketplace until the CFIA is fully confident that the plant's food safety controls are working effectively. Beginning Monday, we have authorized the controlled movement of some meat products currently under detention from the plant to rendering, a high-temperature disposal method. Shipments will move under strict CFIA oversight, and none of the rendered material will enter the food system.