|Feedlots Feel Impact of XL Closure|
|Written by Neil Billinger|
|Monday, 01 October 2012 15:28|
Western Canadian feedlots are scrambling to find buyers for their market ready cattle.
The XL Foods processing plant in Brooks, Alberta had its license temporarily suspended by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency following potential E.coli contamination of meat products.
The recall of beef has been expanded several times since mid-September. The number of affected products is now well over 400. However, only nine cases of e.coli have been confirmed in Alberta.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the company needs to properly demonstrate that it has completed several correction action requests. A CFIA spokesman could not provide a specific timeline--- stating it could be days or weeks.
A lengthy closure will impact feedlots and cow-calf producers with market ready cattle.
"They are going to incur the cost of high feed prices longer and possibly make less because the prices may come down on what they`re getting paid for the cattle as well," said Dr. David Chalack, chairman of the board with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency Ltd.
Pound-Maker Agventures at Lanigan is Saskatchewan`s largest feedlot. It has about 15,000 head of cattle or just over half of the feedlot`s total capacity. Pound-Maker does a lot of business with XL and is looking at other options until the Brooks plant reopens.
"`We have to find new markets obviously. Going into the U.S. to deal with customers that you wouldn`t normally deal with and find homes for those cattle," said Brad Wildeman, president of Pound-Maker Agventures and a past president of the Canadian Cattlemen`s Association. ``It is costing not only XL millions (of dollars) I`m sure, but certainly there is millions of dollars being lost in the countryside. Until we get that plant up and running at full capacity again, prices are lower and people are struggling to find sales.``
Wildeman says XL has been doing its best to deal with the situation.
``It was the company themselves that found this problem, that reported it and talked to all of their key customers. Telling them well in advance of any CFIA notices. It is not that the company was trying to cover this up. I think they have been very pro-active in trying to find this.``
Wildeman says this underlines the importance of proper food preparation. Cooking ground beef at a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit will kill the E.coil pathogen.
|Last Updated on Monday, 01 October 2012 15:45|