Potentially tainted meat shuts down Edmonton plant
Published Friday, November 23, 2012 9:14AM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 23, 2012 10:37PM EST
An Edmonton meat processor temporarily shut down by inspectors over a Listeria scare has a history of citations by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
In a phone conference on Friday afternoon, the food inspection agency said it has issued 11 correction requests to Capital Packers in recent years, and five of those tickets remain open.
The company recalled 378 cases of ham sausages on Thursday after a worker's sleeve tested positive for the bacteria Listeria. Each case has 10 packages of meat.
“Capital Packers Inc. will not be able to resume operations until the CFIA is confident in its capacity to manage safety risks,” CFIA spokesperson Paul Mayers told reporters.
All products at the plant are currently under CFIA detention and control.
The agency said it is conducting an investigation to determine if products shipped from the plant pose a risk to consumers. The sausages were sold at Loblaws and Sobeys stores in Western Canada under the Compliments and Capital brands.
"Our investigation, which immediately was initiated on receipt of the notification of the result, uncovered that indeed some product had been distributed,” said Mayers.
However, Mayers noted that none of the sausages had tested positive for Listeria and the recall is a precaution to ensure that the potentially tainted meat doesn’t end up in the hands of consumers.
In 2008, 22 people died and dozens of others became sick after eating Listeria-contaminated deli meats from a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto.
So far, there have been no reports of illness from eating the Capital Packer’s sausages.
Company president Brent Komarnicki admitted Friday that poor record keeping led to suspension of the plant’s operating licence.
"We have an ineffective recall program that we need to resolve and improve on, so the documentation is readily available for the inspectors when they request it," he told The Canadian Press. "That is where our failure was."
Komarnicki pledged to work with CFIA officials to fix the problem, however, he stressed that the license suspension had nothing to do with food hygiene at the plant.
"We were not able to properly provide them the documentation around this recall program and that is what threw us into suspension," he said.
"It is not to do with the quality of the product or the plant cleanliness or sanitation or anything like that."
According to the CFIA, Capital Packers had its license temporarily suspended for a week in Sept. 2011 due to ventilation and condensation issues in the plant.
The suspension comes about a week after XL Foods in Brooks, Alta. resumed shipping products following an E. coli scare that led to the largest beef recall in Canadian history.
With files from The Canadian Press