CFIA raises new food safety concerns at XL Foods plant

Comments Off November 1, 2012 at 11:37 am by Food in Canada magazine staff

Brooks, Alta. – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has raised additional food safety concerns regarding the XL Foods Inc. plant – the one at the centre of the country’s largest beef recall.

The CFIA released a statement after visiting the plant, which had barely been open a full week, last week.

The CFIA says its inspectors closely monitored plant operations, including the unloading and screening of animals, pre-operation inspections, slaughter, and the cutting and processing of carcasses.

Safety controls were effectively managed, but…

Over the course of the first week of operations, the CFIA determined that the establishment’s overall food safety controls were being effectively managed.

But, as would be expected in a facility that has not been in regular operation for some time, the CFIA says it made some observations that resulted in new Corrective Action Requests (CARs) to XL Foods since the plant reopened.

These observations included:

• condensation on pipes in the tripe room;
• water in a sanitizer was not maintained at a high temperature;
• meat cutting areas were not adequately cleaned; and
• no sanitizing chemical solution in the mats used for cleaning employees’ boots.

The CFIA instructed plant management to take immediate action to address these concerns, including the following:

• Potentially contaminated product was sent for rendering.
• Sanitizers were brought into compliance immediately.
• The meat cutting area was cleaned and sanitized.
• Boot mats were supplied with sanitizer.

In addition, the CFIA requested the company submit corrective action plans outlining how they will address these issues in the longer term and mitigate future risks.

Corrective action plan

The company submitted a corrective action plan and appropriate measures were implemented immediately. The CFIA is reviewing the company’s long-term and preventive measures and will verify that they are effectively implemented.

In addition to monitoring plant operations, the CFIA will analyze results from product testing conducted by both the company and the CFIA, which are expected from laboratories in the coming days.

Trim and ground beef products will be held by XL Foods until all related CFIA and XL Foods test results are reviewed and found acceptable by the CFIA.

The CFIA also says that representatives from the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service visited the plant on Nov. 2 as part of a previously scheduled audit.

Their findings will be released at a later date.