XL Foods calls back workers, but licence still suspended
Published Monday, October 22, 2012 10:38AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 22, 2012 8:51PM EDT
The Alberta meat processing plant at the centre of an E. coli outbreak that prompted the largest beef recall in Canadian history is calling its employees back to work, but the company is still not allowed to ship meat to consumers.
XL Foods in Brooks, Alta. is expected to resume some operations on Oct. 29 and workers were called back Monday to receive their training schedules.
However, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has not reinstated XL Foods’ operating licence, which was suspended on Sept. 27.
Lisa Gauthier, a CFIA spokesperson, told CTVNews.ca Monday that the agency is still drafting a final report based on its inspections of the plant. She said no decision has been made on when the facility will be able to resume full operations.
Without a licence, XL Foods’ workers can still undergo food safety training at the plant and cut meat to demonstrate proper handling of the animal carcasses, but the beef cannot go out on the market.
Last week, test samples from meat processed at the plant came back negative for E. coli, the CFIA said.
All the recalled beef is being dumped at a landfill.
Meanwhile, the company set to take over management of the XL Foods plant, JSB USA, is meeting with workers this week to discuss the transition and future plans.
Doug O’Halloran, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers, said the meetings are a good sign.
"It's certainly a step in the right direction because we've had no communication with XL, so the fact that JBS has reached out and wants to have a discussion I think bodes well," he said.
With files from The Canadian Press