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Inspectors told to ignore contamination at XL Foods plant: report

November 29, 2012
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CTV News is reporting that federal beef inspectors working at the XL Foods Alberta beef plant that was at the center of a massive recall were told to ignore contamination on carcasses being processed for sale in Canada. The directive that was imposed by the inspectors’ supervisors had been in place for over four years.

The 2008 memo written by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) meat hygiene supervisor at the Brooks, Alta., plant, obtained by CTV, instructed CFIA inspectors stationed at one of the plant’s final inspection stops to give extra scrutiny to carcasses shipped to Japan, but to ignore visible fecal and intestinal contamination on meat for Canadians.

“Our number 1 priority is to ensure this standard is met with Japan eligible carcasses,” the memo said of the inspection station.

“Ensure that non-Japan-eligible carcasses are not inspected for spinal cord/dura-mater, OCD (other carcass defects) and minor ingesta,” the note continued. “Ignore them.”

CFIA Executive Director of Western Operations Dr. Harpreet Kochhar said that meat products in Canada are safe, and that feces and intestine splatter would have been eliminated by further interventions downstream. A senior CFIA official who requested anonymity said that the lines should have been stopped immediately.

“Any visible contamination is required to be trimmed off,” the official said. “It is not allowed to be washed off.”

Source: CTV News

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