Test samples from the XL Foods meat plant in Alberta have come back negative for E. coli bacteria, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on Friday, moving closer to a decision on whether to reopen the plant, which the agency closed because some of the plant's beef products were contaminated.

Inspection officials tested meat from 5,000 carcasses that were in the Brooks, Alberta, plant before CFIA shut it down, Reuters reports. The CFIA was expected to finalize its recommendations on the plant's reopening over the weekend after further review of its bacterial controls.

"We must remain focused on the need to protect consumers," said Paul Mayers, associate vice president of programs for CFIA.

Much of the recalled beef, which was sent back to the XL Foods facility in Brooks, was destroyed over the weekend, as between 500 and 600 tons of frozen beef was dumped into the landfill in Brooks. More is expected to be dumped this week.

Source: Reuters, CBC News