|XL Clears First Hurdle|
|Written by Neil Billinger|
|Thursday, 11 October 2012 13:51|
XL Foods has passed step one in the journey to regain its processing license from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
The plant has been cleaned and sanitized. Condensation and drainage issues have been addressed as well.
The CFIA also conducted E.coli tests on the 5100 carcasses inside the Brooks, Alberta plant when it closed on September 27th. More than 99 per cent tested negative. The remainder were disposed.
"Carcasses testing negative will be allowed to proceed to cutting and further processing," said Dr. Harpreet Kochhar, the CFIA's Executive Director of Western Operations. "So, the CFIA can carefully observe the plant's food safety controls in action."
The CFIA says no meat will leave the XL plant until the regulatory agency has approved a full reopening and there is no timeline on when that will happen.
XL Foods has had to recall several hundred beef products from across Canada and more than 20 countries due to E.coli concerns.
Mark Elford, the president of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association, is concerned the Brooks plant may not reopen for at least another two weeks.
"What is really frustrating to us as producers is (that) we are sitting here and we have these recalls and all this activity in Parliament, (but) no one is standing up and saying 'just cook your meat' because that makes it completely safe."
The price of market ready cattle and cull cows have been dropping over the past two weeks. The one factor holding the market together is the number of live cattle going to the United States. Sandy Russell with Spring Creek Land & Cattle Consulting says U.S. buyers stepping into Canadian cattle markets have provided some much needed support.
For the week ending September 29, total Canadian cattle exports to the United States were 16,082 head. That was up more than 1000 head from the previous week and 6000 higher than the start of September. Russell anticipates next week's report will be the first to indicate a substantial increase in Canadian cattle imported into the United States.