|CFIA Temporarily Suspends XL Foods Brooks License|
|Written by Neil Billinger|
|Friday, 28 September 2012 14:11|
Canadian beef processing capacity is taking a bit hit.
The XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alberta has been closed until the company undertakes corrective measures imposed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
There have been seven recalls of ground beef due to concern about E.coli since mid-September and additional recalls are anticipated in the coming days. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also banned imports of beef from the XL Brooks location..
Products at the plant are being held by the CFIA to be tested for the bacteria. The agency says the plant will not reopen until corrective measures have been undertaken.
"To date, the company has not adequately implemented agreed upon corrective actions and has not presented acceptable plans to address longer term issues," said Dr. Brian Evans with the CFIA at a newsconference on Friday morning.
Cattle producers are trying to assess the potential impact this will have on prices. The big unknown is the length of time the Brooks plant will be out of commission. It is one of two federally inspected beef slaughtering and processing facilties in Western Canada. The other is located at High River, Alberta and is owned by Cargill.
Both plants have been operating at below capacity for much of the year, but it is not known if Cargill will step up its slaughter numbers. There has also been some increased interest from U.S. packers in recent days.
"The good news is we don't have a large supply of cattle sitting in feedlots," said Sandy Russell with Spring Creek Land & Cattle Consulting in Outlook, SK. "We know supplies have been relatively tight for most of the year, so that acts in our favor."
"It's not likely to slow down the fall calf run," according to Ryan Thompson, the vice-chair of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association. "The short term affect will be on finished animals ready to go to market."
Russell hopes "as more information becomes available over the next few days, we can start to decypher what this means in terms of market impact."
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association says it is possible federal regulators will clear the XL Foods beef plant in Brooks to resume operating by next week.
CCA executive vice-president Dennis Laycraft says once the plant reopens . . . the challenge will be to get the key U.S. market to accept beef exports from the plant again.
|Last Updated on Friday, 28 September 2012 14:48|